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Tribal neighbours demand end to land leased to Tibetan refugees in Indian state

Phuntsokling Tibetan settlement, Odisha, India. (Photo courtesy: kailashprojects)

(TibetanReview.net, Sep16’19) – Tribal neighbours of a 56-year-old Tibetan refugee settlement in the Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) are demanding the eviction of the settlement residents, reported newindianexpress.com Sep 15. The report said the tribals were accusing the Tibetans of being in illegal encroachment of the land which was leased to them by the state government in 1963 and is administered by the Central Tibetan Administration at Dharamsala.

The report said the tribals of 11 villages of Jiranga and Labarsingh blocks in Gajapati District had demanded cancellation of the land lease to the Tibetan refugees settled in five camps in Mohana and Ramgiri-Udayagiri tehsils.

The Phuntsokling Tibetan settlement was set up in 1963 after the State Government leased around 2,250 acres of land for the resettlement of nearly 2,500 Tibetan refugees. The allotment was done to help the Tibetan refugees by ensuring sustainable livelihood.

The State Government’s intention was stated to be for the land lease to be extended every 10 to 20 years, providing the farmers with leased record of rights.

However, in 2008, when the Tibetans sought to renew the lease, their presence was challenged by some people who accused the refugees of being in illegal encroachment on the land. They asked the local authorities not to extend the land lease ‘patta’ to individual farmers, the report said.

Following this development, only temporary land lease ‘pattas’ were issued to all the farmers in the settlement on Apr 30, 2013, the report said.

And ‘pattas’ for the community and reserve land were not issued.

The tribal group Adivasi Adhikar Manch has warned that its members would resort to agitation if the State Government renewed the lease of the Tibetan residents.

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