Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan organised a core group meeting on the 11th of October 2021 regarding the proposed amendments in the Forest Conservation Act 1980. The meeting was chaired by Com. Ashok Choudhary [AIUFWP].

Com Hannan Mollah opined that the attempt to amend the Act is once again a backdoor ploy by surpassing the Constitution as well as the Parliamentary procedures. The intention of these amendments is fundamentally handing over the natural resources to the hands of the corporates and denying the rights of the natural resource dependent communities on the forests. This amendment has bypassed the Forest Rights Act 2006 entirely which acknowledged the historical injustice rendered to forest dwelling communities.

Com Ramesh, mentioned that the amendments are fundamentally in line with the government’s agenda to monetise the natural resources and dispossess the communities from their land.  Since the 1980s when the FCA came into force, the people have been agitating and struggling for their rights which brought in the Forest Rights Act. These amendments once again turn the tide against the peoples’ aspirations and rights opined Com. Ashok Choudhary.

Com Roma of AIUFWP said that without settling the claims under the FRAs primarily, these amendments are snatching the rights of the Gram Sabhas as well as the federal structure of India is being centralised drastically. This definitely needs to be challenged as it also is against the spirit of the Bio Diversity Act.

Com Satyavan, said that this must be well disseminated to the various stakeholders before proposing such unilateral amendments. The draft must be translated into Indian languages.

Vijoo Krishnan from AIKS, said that the hidden agenda is to allow corporates to start cultivation of oil-palms and plantations by giving them access to forest land. It no way can provide any solution to address climate change; rather the people in the forests have their traditions of protecting the forests and technical solutions without vision will only hamper nature further and displace people.

Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan has resolved to

1.       Issue statements condemning this unilateral move without any thought by the government to the concerned authorities as well as the mass organisations across India.

2.       A Nation-wide protest will be organised on the 12th of November 2021 where thousands of people will gather and register their protest condemning these amendments.