Expert Opinion

‘Displacement of Adivasis will increase’

Print edition : September 19, 2014

Manish Kunjam. Photo: The Hindu Archives

I HAVE great apprehensions about the government’s decision to scrap the Planning Commission. Despite its limitations, the Planning Commission has always made a lot of effort to conduct periodic surveys about the concerns of Dalits and Adivasis. These surveys provided the government with a context for policy formulations for these vulnerable groups. The Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, or PESA, and the Forest Rights Act are results of this consultative process.

But the way this government has taken such a radical step to scrap the Planning Commission without taking the stakeholders into confidence is suspicious. I have a feeling that this decision is an indirect way to open the floodgates for big corporates to come and plunder our natural resources and forests. Both the government and the mining giants have been working towards this goal for a long time.

It is only because of some legislation guaranteeing some immunity that prevented this exploitation to some extent. The condition of Adivasis in forest areas is already abysmal because of this, but now I guess we will be forced to forfeit whatever little preventive mechanism we have.

Displacement of Adivasis will only increase because of such decisions. I am really worried at present.

As told to Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta