Tribals from a group of villages in Gajapati district of Odhisha has made a demand for cancellation of the land lease for the Tibetan refugees in the district. The Tibetan refugee settlement was setup in the district in the 1960s with the generous help from the government of India. The settlement is legally bound by a land lease agreement with the government.
The Tibetan refugee settlement in the Gajapati district of Odhisha comprises of five camps with population of more than two thousand refugees. According to the recent report by The New Indian Express, tribals from 11 villages in two blocks from Gajapati district has demanded the state to cancel to the land lease for Tibetan refugees settlement.
“The tribals of 11 villages of Jiranga and Labarsingh blocks in Gajapati district have demanded cancellation of the land lease of Tibetan refugees, settled in five camps in Mohana and Ramgiri-Udayagiri tehsils.” said the report on Sunday.
The report explained that when the Tibetans attempted to renew the lease, their presence was challenged by some people who accused the refugees of illegally encroaching upon the land. They asked the local authorities not to extend the land lease ‘patta’ to individual farmers.
In the year 2013 temporary land lease ‘pattas’ were issued to all the farmers in the settlement. However, ‘pattas’ for the community and reserve land are yet to be issued, according to the report. The Tibetan refugees in the country are mostly dependent on the land provided by the government as their shelter and many of them make a living out of cultivating on the land. There is no history of Tibetans encroaching beyond the designated land nor have they created problems for the locals.
“The number of Tibetan residents has gone up and this has created problems for tribals residing in the adjoining areas. We would resort to agitation if the State Government renews the lease of Tibetan residents,” warned members of Adivasi Adhikar Manch.