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Opposed to Tribal Minister’s promise in Assembly, FRA claims of Kinnaur tribals rejected to favor hydro-power company

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HP Govt Rejects FRA Claims of Kinnaur villagers

Doling out forest land to the company but cannot grant tribal rights, shows government priorities; Empty promise on FRA made in Vidhan Sabha: Lippa Forest Rights Committee

Kinnaur: Barely few days after tall promises were made about implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the Legislative Assembly by the Tribal Minister Ramlal Markanda, the District Level Committee (DLC) at Rekong Peo has rejected the Individual Forest Rights claims of 47 tribal claimants of Lippa Village in Kinnaur District, said Forest Rights Committee, Lippa in a media statement. The order of the DLC, which was not signed by the three non-official members of the committee out of the six members, was termed as illegal and unjust by the Lippa Forest Rights Committee.

We condemn this order led by the Deputy Commissioner because the arguments for not recommending the 47 claims are totally baseless. It is clear that the officials are ignorant about the provisions of the FRA 2006. The DLC has just blindly accepted the incorrect decision taken by the bureaucratic members of the Sub Divisional Level Committee, where as we have provided the DLC detailed objections to the same, based on the provisions in the Forest Rights Act 2006,

said Subhash Negi of President of the Forest Rights Committee, Lippa.

The order of the DLC dated December 17, 2018, gives three arguments for not recommending the claims. The first is that the claims are not from ‘unsurveyed villages’ but from revenue villages. The second argument is that the evidence submitted by the claimants does not provide proof of three generations. The third argument says that the act was only for those who are primarily residing in forests and dependent on the forest land, implying that the claimants were not eligible. As per the FRC as well as the written objection submitted by the Individual claimants, all three arguments have been legally countered.

This Act is not just for ‘unsurveyed villages’ but is also applicable to revenue villages with residents who are dependent for their ‘bonafide livelihood’ needs on forest land. This has been adequately clarified by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in a circular dated June 9, 2008.

This argument by the officials that claimants from revenue villages are not eligible is ridiculous because all 17,503 FRCs in Himachal are formed at Revenue Village level. If we go by their argument then the FRA 2006 cannot be implemented in Himachal at all since there almost no forest villages here. The FRA 2006 is applicable where ever people depend on forest land,

according to Prakash Bhandari, of Himdhara Collective advocating for the implementation of the Act.

Secondly, the Act requires the three-generation evidence clause only for non-tribal people (referred to as Other traditional forest dwellers in the Act), Whereas the applicants in the case of Lippa are all belonging to the category of Scheduled Tribe. Thirdly, the SDLC and DLC have both recommended the Community forest rights for the Lippa village without any objections.

This is s a partial reading of the law. While issuing the CFR title we are considered as ‘primarily residing in the forest, forest dwellers’, while considering the individual claims won’t the same criteria apply? This shows that the officials do not have even basic knowledge of the act,

added Negi.

It needs to be noted that individual claims can be made, as per the law for both housing as well as land being cultivated. The Gram Sabha of Lippa has recommended all 47 claims almost 6 months ago.

The decision of the DLC is also contentious because the forest land under Lippa Village was leased out to Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited for the Kashang Stage 2 and 3 hydropower projects by the State cabinet on 0ctober 13, 2018. The Paryavaran Sangharsh Samiti, Lippa which has been opposing the forest clearance to the project, has objected to the cabinet decision taken on the grounds that it “is a clear violation of not only of the PESA, FRA, 2006 and the NGT judgment dated 5th May 2016 but also the state’s own legislation”.

In 2016 the Green tribunal had ordered that the forest rights of the communities be settled as per provisions of the FRA and only after that the project proponents could approach the Gram Sabha for NOC.

The lease order was made under Himachal Pradesh Lease rules, 2013 for an underground area of 06-03-20 ha, situated in Up-Mohal Lappo of the Lippa Village. According to Tashi Chewang, Secretary Paryavaran Sanrakshan Sangharsh Samiti, “Rule 11 sub-rule 2 (iii) of the Himachal Pradesh Lease Rules, 2014 clearly states that

In Scheduled areas, the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) shall also refer the lease application to the concerned Gram Sabhas for consultation. He shall proceed further only after obtaining the Gram Sabha’s resolution

in this regard.

But during the whole process of leasing out land to HPPCL, neither the SDM has ever approached or consulted with the Lippa gram sabha nor the gram sabha ever passed any resolution in this regard.

The ‘Vanya Prani, Van Evam Jaivividhta Sanrakhsan Samiti’ formed under rule 4(E) of the FRA 2006 by Lippa Gram Sabha has issued a legal notice to the Chief Secretary and 6 other high level officials challenging the lease order.

The people of Lippa village for the last ten years have been struggling against the projects because of the havoc that diversion of the Kerang Khad would cause. Kerang is a perennial stream that flows adjacent to the Lippa village and it helps in flushing out the huge silt and debris that come towards the village from another stream called the Pager Khad.

If the Kerang is diverted by the project then the Pager khad will destroy the village, added Chewang. The Chilgoza forest and other biodiversity on which the livelihood of locals is directly dependent will also be impacted by the forest diversion and construction

, according to members of the Paryavaran Sanrankshan Sangharsh Samiti.

Our struggle is for our day to day survival and livelihood using every law that is available for protection of tribal rights. But when the State is violating all these constitutional laws and provisions, what is the community to do?

asks R.S Negi leader of Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur, a platform for tribal rights in the District.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 69 New COVID-19 Cases Including 27 from Solan, 10 from Shimla

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Shimla-covid-19 cases

Shimla-The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday crossed the 2700 mark with the appearance of 69 new cases. These cases include two policeman, army personals, migrant labourers and some other locals.The number of active cases has now risen to 1115.

According to the State Health Department, Solan reported the highest 27 cases. Majority of these include workers in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area and contacts of COVID-19 positive persons. Most of these 27 persons weren’t quarantined, which is a matter of concern.

The capital Shimla reported 10 cases, of which five were said to be migrant labourers in Rampur. Shimla city reported three cases including an employee of the General Post Office, Shimla. What’s worrying about this case is the fact that the sample of this woman was taken in flu OPD after she visited the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla. The woman has been mobile and used public transport too. Her travel history is yet to be traced. The CMO, Shimla, Surekha Chopra confirmed the report. There was no report regarding the sealing of the GPO or other places the woman had visited. But her residence at crowded Sanjauli locality was sealed. Two other cases were reported from Kasumpti and Bharari areas. Details regarding the remaining two were awaited. The COVID-19 case tally of Shimla has now reached 178 with two deaths.

Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (8), Chamba (4), Hamirpur (6), Mandi (11), Sirmaur (1), and Bilaspur (2).

So far, Solan has reported the highest 690 confirmed cases, followed by Kangra (476), Sirmaur (346), Hamirpur (313), Una (217), Shimla (178), Mandi (183), Bilaspur (101), Kinnaur (45), Kullu (37), and Lahaul-Spit (4).

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin August 2, 2020 (9PM)

 New cases in Shimla

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-uhf nauni ug admissions 2020-21 session

Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios Re-shuffle – Reward to Loyalists, Warning to Dissenting Voices Within Party

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New Hp Cabinet Minister portfolios

Shimla: The portfolios of Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers were re-shuffled extensively along with the induction of three new Ministers – Rakesh Pathania, Sukh Ram, and Rajinder Garg. Newly inducted Ministers in the HP Cabinet had taken the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan on July 30, 2020. 

Sukh Ram Chaudhary, MLA from Paonta Sahib Assembly constituency, Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur, and Rajinder Garg of Ghumarwin constituency took oath as Cabinet Minister.

While the shuffle is being justified by claiming that it was a punishment for not performing well, this opportunity has also been used to discourage dissent within the party and reward loyalists. Earlier governments have also re-shuffled portfolios during their reign, but not upto the extent it has been done this time.

Also Read: HP Cabinet’s Three Newly Inducted Ministers Take Oath

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur was heard warning ministers earlier regarding the possible changes, but the possible resentment did not allow it. However, the opportunity to fill up all positions in the Cabinet has also been used to re-shuffle portfolios of other ministers as well.

The Ministries of  Education, Forest, Health & Family Welfare, and Transport are some of the most important portfolios which have been shuffled. Further, the Chief Minister has decided to retain other important portfolios and all others that are not allocated to anyone.

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios After Re-shuffle

Name

Ministry 

Departments 

Jairam Thakur Chief Minister Finance, General Administration, Home, Planning, Personnel, Public Works Department, Tourism, Excise & Taxation, All other departments not alloted to any other minister.
Mahender Singh Thakur Jal Shakti Minister Jal Shakti, Revenue, Horticulture, Sainik Welfare
Suresh Bhardwaj Urban Development Minister Urban Development, Town &Country Planning, Housing, Parliamentary Affairs, law & Legal Remembrance, Co-operation
Sarveen Chaudhary Social Justice & Empowerment   Social Justice & empowerment
Ram Lal markanda Technical Education Minister Technical Education, Vocational & Industrial Training, Tribal Development, Information Technology, Redressal ofPulbic Grievances
Virender kanwar Rural Development & panchayati Raj Minister Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries
Biram Singh Industries Minister Industries, Transport, Labour & Employment
Govind Singh Thakur Education Minister Higher Education, Elementary Education, Language, Art & Culture
Rajiv Saizal Health & Family Welfare Minister Health & Family Welfare, Ayurveda
Sukh Ram MPP & Power Minister MPP & Power, Non-Conventional Energy Sources
Rakesh Pathania Forest Minister Forest, Youth Services & Sports
Rajinder Garg Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Printing & Stationary

 

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