Smt. Droupadi Murmu,
Governor of Jharkhand,
Ranchi – 834001.
Subject: Requesting for withdrawal of community land (sacred groves, common land and village forest land) from the Land Bank of Jharkhand.
This is to bring your kind attention on the matter of ‘Land Bank’ constituted under the Department of Land Reform and Revenue by the Government of Jharkhand. The State Government has listed 2,106,073.78 (see table: 1) acres of land of all 24 districts of Jharkhand, which is mostly the sacred groves, common land of villages and forest land, which is primarily owns by the Gram Sabhas (village councils) across the state legitimated by the various laws and the Supreme Court judgment. However, the state Government has listed these lands in the land bank by putting aside the Laws and SC judgment.
The sole purpose of the ‘Land Bank’ is to ensure land for the corporate houses for establishment of their projects. The state Government has signed 210 new MoUs with the corporate Houses during the ‘Global Investors Summit’ held at Khelgoan, Ranchi on 16-17 February 2017, therefore, the Government has been attempting to acquire the common land without (free, prior and informed) consent of the community. For instance, 488.82 acres of land of 541 sacred groves of Khunti districts is listed as Government land and shown is the data of land bank.
The Government of Jharkhand has constituted the ‘Land Bank’ and enlisted all the land under the purviews of government land. This is a gross violation of the Provisions of Panchayat (Extension) in Scheduled Area Act 1996, which recognizes the self determination of the Adivasis (scheduled tribes) and empowers the Gram Sabha (village council) to manage the natural resources. This is also the violation of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of ‘Odisha Mining Corporation vs Ministry of Forest and Environment and others (c) No. 180 of 2011, which clearly states that the Gram Sabha is the owner of the natural resources, therefore, the consent of the Gram Sabha must be taken. This is also a clear violation of the Forest Rights Act 2006, which recognizes the individual and community rights over the forest and forest land.
Table 1 : Land Bank of Jharkhand
|Sl. No.||District||Total Plot||Area of land in Acre|
Source: Land Bank, Department of Land Reform and Revenue (Govt. of Jharkhand)
Since you are the custodial of the Fifth Scheduled areas of Jharkhand under the Indian Constitution, and you are also empowered with the special rights given in the Para fifth of the Fifth Schedule, hence, you can dismiss the formation of ‘Land Bank’ in the Fifth Schedule area merely by issuing a public notification.
Therefore, I humbly request you to order the Government of Jharkhand for withdrawal of the land regarding the sacred groves, common land and forest land from the land bank. These lands must be return and restored to the villagers, which were traditionally owned by them.
I shall be highly obliged to you for the same.