Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 15:
The Indigenous People’s Forum Odisha today came down heavily on the state government for hindering the socio-economic development of the tribal community by diverting funds meant for tribals to other sectors.
The members of the Forum, while evaluating the implementation of Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) in the state at an Adivasi Darbar held at the Red Cross Bhawan here, felt that the funds are either poorly allocated or diverted or allowed to lapse.
They said major departments like Home, Forest and Environment, Water Resources, Energy, Works and Rural Development have diverted Rs 1161.48 crore meant for the socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribe community at the individual and family level.
The members alleged that these departments have utilized the diverted fund of the tribal budget towards construction of jail building, fire service building, residential building for officials and major irrigation projects in the state.
Stating that the state government had used TSP funds for lending money to the companies, they said about Rs 91 crore TSP fund had remained unspent in 2013-14 fiscal.
“If diversion of TSP fund continues further, tribal communities would strongly protest before state Assembly in near future,” the members warned.
The forum demanded proper utilization of TSP funsd by enhancing the capacity of the officials in the implementation of the fund at the state and district levels.
Among others, Theophil Gomango and Fr. Nicholas Barla, conveners of Indigenous People’s Forum, Odisha organized Adivasi Darabar while Fr. Denzil from ISI, New Delhi oriented the participants about provisions of TSP.
Dr Bipin Jojo enlightened the participants on TSP implementation in Maharashtra while Adikand presented the status of TSP implementation in Odisha.
Among othes, Basant from CYSD and Sandeep from Policy Advocacy Center also spoke.
It may be noted that Odisha has about 23 percent of tribal population of which 72 percent are under BPL category. A majority of tribal communities in western and southern Odisha migrate to other states in search of livelihood and sometimes fall prey to exploitation.