Tribals in Odisha have been protesting against the renewal of land lease to Tibetan refugees living in Gajapati district. In 1963, the state government had set up the Phuntsokling Tibetan refugee settlement and leased 2,250 acres of land to more than 2,500 refugees. Since then, the government has renewed the land lease every 10-20 years, providing the Tibetans with leased record of rights. Between 1995 and 2008, there was a lapse in the renewal process, and the government undertook temporary land lease renewal from 2008 to 2018. The Adivasi Adhikari Manch (AAM) has been seeking cancellation of the land lease provided to the Tibetan refugees, accusing them of encroaching upon tribal land. As per the statistics of the Central Tibetan Relief Committee, close to 2,800 refugees are currently living in the settlement. The number has gone up by 300 in 55 years. As per newspaper reports, AAM members are saying that they will resort to agitation if the land lease is renewed again. According to a media report, the issuance of title deeds for community and reserve lands in the settlement is being currently discussed with the local administration.
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