Inaugurating the first-of-its-kind tribal carnival at the national level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said that the tribals must get their “jameen kaa adhikar (right to land)”, asserting that his government was committed to ensure that nobody can take away this right from them.
The Prime Minister also categorically said that natural resources in forests should not be exploited at the cost of tribals’ way of life.
“Nobody in this country should have the right to snatch the land of tribals, nobody should get a chance (to do this). This is our commitment. The government is in favour of taking the strongest possible action in that direction and we are also doing that,” he said.
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“Similarly tribals should also get the right to land (aadivaasiyon ko jameen kaa haq bhi milna chaahiye) because land is their life, forest is their life. Most of our iron ore and natural resources are in forests where the tribals live. Coal, iron ores have to be extracted as the country has to move forward… but that should not happen by exploiting the tribals. It should be done without compromising with their rights,” the Prime Minister said.
He said that to save forests and the land of tribals besides protecting their source of income, his government was giving emphasis to underground mining and coal gasification techniques so that the forest on the surface remains unaffected.
The Prime Minister also spoke at length about his government’s Van Bandhu scheme and the Rurban mission, which targets creating new growth centres in tribals areas.
He added that the schemes for the welfare of tribals had to be made after recognising what the community wants at the ground level and not sitting in “air-conditioned rooms in Delhi or state capitals”.
Addressing the gathering, he also made a strong pitch for start-ups to brand and export tribal goods to domestic and foreign markets.
The four-day tribal carnival is being attended by more than 40,000 tribals from across the country. It comes at a time when the BJP needs to make inroads in the community to meet the Gujarat poll challenge where it is battling the anger of two numerically influential communities — the Dalits and the Patels. Tribals constitute about 14 per cent of the state’s population and have traditionally sided with the Congress.
The mega tribal carnival, which the government says is aimed at promoting a “sense of inclusiveness” amongst the
tribals, will showcase and promote various facets of tribal culture.
Workshops on issues like Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, Forest Rights Act 2006 and reservation in politics and recruitment will also be part of the carnival. It will provide a stage for deliberations on important subjects affecting tribal development. It will also give an exposure of marketability of tribal products.