INDIA: Land ownership boosts climate resilience in India

11 Mar 2012 21:26

Source: Alertnet // Manipadma Jena

Despite water shortages, Chilipoi village women with their own small homestead plots are able to grow enough vegetables to feed their families. ALERTNET/Manipadma Jena

By Manipadma Jena

GANJAM, India (AlertNet) – Efforts to secure land ownership for tribal people in one of India’s poorest states are bolstering their economic security in the face of climate-induced hardships, and helping conserve farmland and forest.

In the hamlet of Kharibandh in Ganjam, a coastal district in the eastern state of Orissa (now officially called Odisha), 13 households of the Sabar tribal community each received title to 400 square metres (0.1 acres) of government land two years ago. The families had lived in Kharibandh for three generations, but had no legal right to the land.

Today, Rabibari Sabar, a 51-year-old widow, pedals vigorously on a foot pump to pipe pond water into her plot of seasonal vegetables interspersed with coconut and papaya trees. As well as feeding her family, she earned 1,500 rupees ($30) last year selling tubers and spinach from her homestead farm to neighbouring villagers. More

INDIA, Andaman And Nicobar Islands – VIP ‘Human Safari’ Organized By Top Cop Tasked With Ending Scandal

8 March

Jarawa woman from the Andamans. Her tribe is at risk from 'human safaris'.
Jarawa woman from the Andamans. Her tribe is at risk from ‘human safaris’.
© Survival

The second most senior policeman on the Andamans has been caught organizing a VIP ‘human safari’ despite being tasked with the job of protecting the Jarawa tribe.

Sanjay Baniwal, the Andaman’s Inspector General of Police, used his seniority to guarantee an exclusive trip into the Jarawa Reserve with his relatives and a Hindu priest.

He was able to meet the tribe at a pre-arranged location after the Jarawa Protection Police made 18 members of the tribe wait for over an hour until he arrived.

The Jarawa had been on their way to Temple Myo creek to catch fish when they were interrupted and made to participate in the ‘human safari’ for the senior officer.

Ironically, Baniwal was given the specific role of monitoring all activity on the Andaman Trunk Road shortly after the ‘human safari’ scandal broke out. More

INDIA: Vedanta’s PR campaign backfires as Bollywood celebs pull out

5 March

The Dongria Kondh reasserted their pledge never to leave the Niyamgiri Hills, at a festival in February.
The Dongria Kondh reasserted their pledge never to leave the Niyamgiri Hills, at a festival in February.
© Bikash Khemka/Survival

A bid by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to repair its tarnished international reputation has backfired after two major Bollywood celebrities withdrew from a film competition supposed to show the ‘happiness’ the company creates.

Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal and Bollywood actress Gul Panag were both part of a judging panel, which had until the end of this month to pick a winning film out of the 38 submitted.

The films were all shot by ‘budding film-makers’, who were escorted by Vedanta around villages where it has a presence.

The objective of the competition was to show the ‘happiness’ Vedanta brings to local communities where it works.

Vedanta’s reputation was irreversibly damaged when it ignored the rights of the Dongria Kondh tribe, whose sacred mountain it sought to mine for aluminum ore.

Due to the mounting tribal protests and international criticism of their actions in Orissa, India, Vedanta initiated a PR offensive extolling their virtues. But this short film reveals how easily their lies and manipulations can be debunked.

Gul Panag, who was crowned Miss India in 1999, was only made aware of Vedanta’s involvement when it was brought to her attention via social media.

She tweeted, ‘My bad. Just got full details. I wasn’t aware that the competition was part of Vedanta glorification/PR. Have pulled out.’ More

INDIA: Consent of local village councils must for mining – Tribal Affairs Minister

Kishore Chandra Deo | Consent of local village councils must for mining

Gram Sabhas should become more effective as this will ensure transparency, and corruption will be minimized

Liz Mathew 

New Delhi: The environment ministry will not clear any mining in forest areas unless local village councils give their consent, Kishore Chandra Deo, minister of tribal affairs and Panchayati Raj, said in an interview. A Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh, Deo took charge of the two ministries in July. He said the revival of village councils is the best way to ensure larger people’s participation in governance Edited excerpts: More

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