Chhattisgarh tribals walk over 50 km to demand cash payment for tendu leaves

Written by Gargi Verma
| Bijapur |

Revealed: June 30, 2020 7:24:48 am

Armed with bows and arrows and carrying idols of deities, hundreds of villagers from 18 gram panchayats and 50 villages of Bijapur’s Gangaloor space walked greater than 50 km Monday to collect in protest on the district collector’s workplace with a number of calls for, together with cash payment for tendu leaves as a substitute of financial institution transfers.

The Chhattisgarh authorities determined to permit cash payment for forest produce in Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur districts. In accordance to officers, the choice was taken after Chhattisgarh Minister Kawasi Lakhma made a request saying that banks usually are not accessible for everybody within the three Maoist-affected districts.

On Monday morning, Bijapur police had been alerted about a big group strolling into the town space from Cherpal. Whereas barricades had been arrange on totally different elements of the highway, the villagers pushed previous them and policemen to attain the collector’s workplace, the place a small delegation was allowed to meet the collector, DFO and different officers. No political get together was concerned.

“Our major demand is that the villagers be paid in cash and not direct bank transfers for the tendu leaves they procure and sell. It is one of the major income sources and coming to the city to withdraw cash is often more expensive than the amount to be withdrawn. Some people don’t even have bank accounts,” mentioned Raju Kalmu (35), one of many representatives a part of the delegation.

Ramesh Punem, one other consultant, mentioned, “We want the bonus promised on tendu patta in 2018-2019, an increased scholarship for tribal students, schools and hospitals in the villages. The tribals are tortured by the police, which needs to stop too.”

Bastar IG P Sundarraj mentioned, “No social gathering is allowed, so we tried hard to disperse the villagers. However, they were not harmed and eventually allowed to reach the collectorate.”

Activist Soni Sori was Sunday barred from leaving her home by police after she knowledgeable the police about her plans to be a part of the protest. “I also wanted to go to Sarkeguda where an event was organised to create memorials for the people who were killed in 2012 in a fake encounter. However, I wasn’t allowed to go to either places by the police, who served me a notice stating that since I have been provided security, I can’t go to Naxal-affected areas. This is a violation of my rights and a way to suppress tribal voices,” she mentioned.

Sundarraj mentioned, “We couldn’t have allowed anyone to go for a public event as due to Covid-19, all public gatherings are banned.”

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