Bhubaneswar, Jan 11 :
‘People’s Rights over Natural Resources’ is the central theme of deliberations at the two-day annual conference of ‘Odisha Gabeshana Chakra’ which kicked off on Saturday at the PG Council hall of Utkal University at Bhubaneswar here.
While welcoming the delegates, the president of Odisha Gabeshana Chakra’ Bijoy Bohidar highlighted the distinctly divided features of Odisha – one for the ‘Haves’ and the other, for the ‘Have not’. Haves are in minority but rule and lord over the have-nots who are the majority, he said adding, various past and present machineries have only helped in widening this chasm. .
While the decision makers, rulers, bureaucracy and people with money and muscle represent the ‘Have’, people whose palms were chopped off represent the have-nots of Odisha, Bohidar said.
He said, during the two day-long conference, many eminent and distinguished persons will present their views and evidences and deliberate on the rights of people like adivasis, dalits, women, landless labourers and other marginalised sections of the society.
Renowned social scientist, Prof Manoranjan Mohanty gave examples of transformation among the middle class society to explain the gradual and increasingly rapid changes in people’s rights over natural resources.
Prof Mohanty said that by studying predominant middle class societies, comprising Brahmins and Karans,one can analyse the trends in resource ownership or resource alienation forced by growing extractive nature of possessions.
Elaborating further Prof Mohanty said the earlier middle class had agriculture- based livelihoods and social identity. Now that society has become a part and promoter of resource extractive livelihoods and social identity. While the previous one was deeply entrenched to the roots, the present is rooted in globalised economy and society. In the process, the plight of the ‘Have-nots’ has remained pathetic.
Sudhansu Sekhar Bhuyan, Joint Secretary in the Revenue Department, stressed on the simplification of revenue administration that can reach out to the people. He said there is a great need for a mass campaign to educate people about revenue laws and procedures and pointed out that revenue illiteracy’ makes people vulnerable to resource alienation.
Mr Pradeep Nayak of Gopabandhu Academy of Administration said that there are numerous laws to facilitate land reforms. A vibrant administration, strong political will and awareness among people can help realise the land reforms measures in the state.
Manas Jena of Dalit Adhika Manch rued the slow progress of a basic welfare programme like Vasundhara scheme. He said that while the government has thousands of acres for the industries it does not have a few decimals for the poor. Pointing out that large mines lie abandoned after their full exploitation. he said that the government should ensure refilling of the abandoned mines and distribute the restored land among the landless.
Among others, Amrita Patel, Rajesh Bag, Saroj Mohanty, Bidyut Mohanty and Tushar Dash spoke on the occasion.
In the evening session, Prof Manoranjan Mohanty gave a lecture on ‘Nelson Mandela Legacy’.
The conference and the lecture was jointly organised by Ambedkar Study Centre, Utkal University and Gabeshana Chakra.
On Sunday, the conference will deliberate on “people’s right to water” and “mining and people’s right”.
President, Odisha Gabeshana Chakra Phone: 9437135194