By Tenzin Sangmo
ADM Gajapati Distt distributing land patta to Camp No. 2 farmers in May 2013. PC -tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 16: Adivasi Adhikar Manch (AAM) in Odisha is reportedly seeking the cancellation of state land lease to Phuntsokling Tibetan Settlement located in Gajapati district.
AAM members said the increasing number of Tibetan residents has created problems for the tribals residing in adjoining Jiranga and Labarsingh blocks in the district and warned that they would resort to agitation if the State Government renews the lease of Tibetan residents, according to New Indian Express report.
In 2012, Tibetans couldn’t cultivate fields after organized mobs of neighbouring tribal accused Tibetans of illegally encroaching land and hoisted a red flag in the field to assert their claim.
In response, Department of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) issued a statement on May 9, 2013, in which it said the settlement was established in 1963 on 2,250-acre land offered by Odisha government for resettlement of 2479 Tibetans with the land lease to be extended every 10 to 20 years.
“In between 1995 and 2008, there was a lapse of renewal of the land lease. Thereafter, the government allowed land lease renewal from 2008-2018, but local authorities could not release individual farmer’s Land Lease Patta (Govt. land lease document) due to constant pressure from a vested interest group.”
The statement said all farmers in the settlement were eventually granted temporary (2008-2018) Land lease Patta by May 2013, and added, “but the issuance of the Community and Reserve lands Patta of the settlement are currently being discussed with the local administration.”
According to CTA data, there has been an increase of 313 residents in the last 60 years in the agriculture-based settlement.