Inclusion of tribal villages in 5th Schedule sought

‘Three MLAs are trying to sacrifice the rights of tribal people’

The AP Girijan Sangham 5th Schedule Sadhana Committee has adopted a resolution seeking inclusion of non-scheduled villages in the 5th Schedule and their exclusion from the purview of Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) at the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Governing Body meeting to be held on December 29.

At the district-level meeting of the sadhana committee, held under the auspices of the district president Ch. Raju at Madugula in the district on Sunday, district general secretary E. Narasimha Murthy and honorary president K. Govinda Rao said that the State government was focussing on the problems of adivasis in non-Scheduled areas. It had directed the Tahsildar to hold gram sabhas in the 113 revenue villages in nine mandals of Visakhapatnam Agency and send a report to the ITDA.

The sangham leaders alleged that when the ITDA was preparing to send its report to the government, the MLAs of Chodavaram, Narsipatnam and Madugula intervened forcing the ITDA officials to send the names of only five panchayats in Anantagiri mandal while deleting the names of other non-scheduled tribal villages from the list. They alleged that the MLAs were trying to sacrifice the rights of the tribal people by including the non-scheduled tribal villages under Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority and hand them over to mining and real estate agents for their vested interests. Condemning the attitude of the MLAs, the sangham leaders said there was no rule, as per the guidelines of the Central Government, that the consent of the local MLA should be taken for inclusion of a village in the scheduled area.

‘Don’t succumb to pressure’

They appealed to the Integrated Tribal Development Agency Project Officer not to succumb to pressures from the MLAs and send the complete list to the State government apart from including them in the 5th Schedule, failing which they would be forced to launch an agitation.

Meanwhile, E.A.S. Sarma, former Secretary to the Government of India and the former Commissioner (Tribal Welfare) in undivided Andhra Pradesh has written to the Chief Ministers of both the Telugu States, on Saturday, saying that the basis adopted in 1986 for villages to be notified for inclusion in Scheduled Areas, should not be altered against the interests of the adivasis.

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