Adivasis oppose move to transfer land to non-tribals in AP

VISAKHAPATNAM: Providing houses to the poor under Navaratnalu scheme in scheduled areas of Andhra Pradesh seems to have become a tricky affair for the state government. Adivasi unions are up in arms against the officials’ move to hand over possession certificates of tribal lands to non-tribals to build houses as part of the housing scheme.

It may be mentioned here that last month, assistant secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) Revu Mutyala Raju issued a circular to district collectors and project officers of Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) asking them to explore the possibility of issuing possession certificates to non-tribals so that they could build houses in one-and-half cents of land under Navaratnalu housing for poor.

The assistant secretary mentioned in the circular that the MLAs informed the government that the housing scheme could not be implemented for non-tribals in scheduled areas due to the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Areas Land Transfer Regulation 1/78 Act and 1/70 which prohibited land transfer from tribals to non-tribals. They also suggested that the issue of possession certificate was not a violation of Land Transfer Regulation Act.

Demanding withdrawal of the circular, convener of joint action committee of adivasi unions Rama Rao Dora said Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy while interacting with the flood victims in Alluri district assured them that the land in scheduled areas would not be given to non-tribals by way of giving them possession certificates.

“When the Chief Minister announced there will be no land transfer, why the officials are not withdrawing the circular?” Rama Rao asked on Saturday.

He reminded that secretary of tribal welfare department Kantilal Dande took a proactive step to protect the scheduled areas by issuing a circular to collectors, ITDA project officers and passed on operational guidelines on how to protect the adivasi lands in scheduled areas. The circular was issued in January this year.