Odisha Forest Department Demolishes Houses of 32 Families during Covid-19 Pandemic

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 26, 2020

Location of Conflict

Sagada

,

Kalahandi

This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

154

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

State

Odisha

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

On April 24, 2020, the Odisha forest department demolished the homes of 32 forest-dwelling families in Sagada village on the grounds that they were encroaching on reserved forest land. They did not get any notice prior to the demolition. The operation was led by the divisional forest officer of South Kalahandi and sub-collector of Bhawanipatna. As the demolition drive was in progress, local advocate Siddharth Naik reached the spot and tried to intervene. But he was sent away by the forest department. The government defended the demolition and consequent eviction by saying that the forest dwellers were encroachers and belonged to another village 15 kilometres away. Prafulla Samantara, a forest rights activist from the state, told LCW that the homes of the affected families were in a remote village and were destroyed in the rains, so they had migrated to Sagada six months earlier. They settled close to the panchayat office as it was convenient for them to get wage labour work, ration and Covid-19 relief supplies. However, they were evicted as they had allegedly built their houses on reserved forest land. The forest department says it has shifted the evicted families to their original village and also gave each family three months worth of supplies under the public distribution system, along with Covid-19 cash incentive of INR 1,000. Samantara has written to the state chief secretary demanding suspension of the officials who ordered the eviction as well as better compensation to the displaced people.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

ha

Starting Year

2020

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Forest and Environment Department

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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