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NHAI approves greenbelt along National Highways NHAI(National Highways Authority of India )has approved a pilot project submitted by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur for undertaking scientific studies on designing greenbelts along national highways. The project will be implemented on a 5 km stretch on NH-7 between Jam and Hinganghat in Nagpur region at an estimated cost of Rs.11.80 crore . Around 20, 000 trees of scientifically chosen species are proposed to be planted on both sides of this stretch in multiple rows. Work activities have been delineated considering two major factors : (a) Highway requirement and objectives Traffic frequency Available space Soil type Water availability Climatic conditions Anthropogenic interference (b) Plant characteristics to fit in the site requirement Height Canopy cover Air pollution Tolerance Index Sociability The project will run for 5 years, and during this period various experiments will be conducted in NEERI laboratory to record the impact of greenbelt development. Besides developing greenbelt, the project will also assist in developing relevant research infrastructure that may be used for similar studies in future. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the Government of India, responsible for management of a network of over 70, 000 km of National Highways in India. It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The chairman of NHAI is Raghav Chandra, IAS. The NHAI was created through the promulgation of the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. A 2012 report prepared by the World Bank’s Institutional Integrity Unit alleged that fraudulent and corrupt practices were being followed by Indian contractors working on national highway projects funded by it, and sought a thorough investigation into the matter. The report also alleged that contractors paid bribes and gifts, including gold coins, to “influence the actions” of officials and consultants of the National Highways Authority of India.
National award winning film ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’ inspired by the issues of Niyamgiri Adivasis Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl’s film ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’ is the story of Struggle for the survival of Adivasis in Niyamgiri. The film has won this year’s National award in the category of Best Environmental Film. The main theme of the film is an intimate poetic window into the lives of the Kondh, the original dwellers (Adivasis) of the forests of Niyamgiri in Odisha State. This film is about those peoples relationship with the forest. It highlights environmental issues and focus on struggle of tribals in day-today life. The Kondha are indigenous tribal groups of India. They live in Odisha, a state in eastern India. Their highest concentration is found in the blocks of Rayagada, Kashipur, Kalyansinghpur, Bissam cuttack and Muniguda. The Kondhas are believed to be from the Proto-Australoid ethnic group. Their native language is Kui, a Dravidian language written with the Oriya script. The Kondha are adept land dwellers exhibiting greater adaptability to the forest environment. However, due to development interventions in education, medical facilities, irrigation, plantation and so on, they are forced into the modern way of life in many ways. Their traditional life style, customary traits of economy political organization, norms, values and world view have been drastically changed over a long period. One sub-group of Kondhas is the Dongria Kondhas. They are called Dongria or dweller of donger and settle in higher altitudes due to their economic demands. They have a subsistence economy based on foraging, hunting & gathering but they now primarily depend on a subsistence agriculture i.e. shifting cultivation. The Dongrias commonly practice polygamy. By custom, marriage must cross clan boundaries (a form of incest taboo). The clan or “Puja” is exogamous, which means marriages are made outside the clan (yet still within the greater Dongoria population). The form of acquiring mate is often by capture or force or elopement. However, marriage by negotiation is also practiced. The Dongrias are great admirer of aesthetic romanticism. Their pantheon has both the common Hindu gods and their own. The gods and goddesses are always attributed to various natural phenomena, objects, trees, animals, etc. Vedanta Resources, a UK based mining company, is threatening the future of this tribe as their home the Niyamgiri Hill is rich in bauxite. The bauxite is also the reason there are so many perennial streams. The tribe’s plight is the subject of a Survival International short film narrated by actress Joanna Lumley. In 2010 India’s environment ministry ordered Vedanta Resources to halt a sixfold expansion of an aluminium refinery in Odisha. As part of its Demand Dignity campaign, in 2011 Amnesty International published a report concerning the rights of the Dongria Kondh. Vedanta has appealed against the ministerial decision, but the tribal leaders have promised to continue their struggle whatever the decision in a key hearing before India’s supreme court (in April 2012). In 2013 A three-member bench of the Supreme Court directed the village councils of Rayagada and Kalahandi to take a decision within three months on whether the project can go ahead after considering any claims of cultural, religious, community and individual rights that the forest dwellers of the region may have. The ruling linked the constitutional provision for the protection of Scheduled Tribes as enshrined in Article 224 with protection of religious rights under Articles 25 and 26 and the Forest Rights Act. After years of controversy and confusion, Vedanta’s project to mine bauxite on a forested hill considered sacred by an ancient tribe has been stopped by the Indian government.
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Sixth Schedule Government to set up National Tribal Advisory Council M_Id_441113_Tribals Government has decided to set up a National Tribal Advisory Council for effecting monitoring and implementation of various tribal welfare schemes. The council will be chaired by the Prime Minister and will meet once or twice in a year. There has been significant improvement in terms of infrastructure in education sector for tribals but the quality of education has not improved in the same way. Referring to the problems of sixth scheduled states of northeast, government decided to hold a regional conference for them in Guwahati. There is a need for more effective community participation for the success of various tribal welfare schemes. Background: The Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India contains provisions concerning the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. Fifth Schedule Part B of paragraph 4 speaks about Tribes Advisory Council : If the President so directs, each State having Scheduled Areas and also any State having Scheduled Tribes but not Scheduled Areas, of a Tribes Advisory Council consisting of not more than twenty members of whom, as nearly as may be, three-fourths shall be the representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State. If the number of representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State is less than the number of seats in the Tribes Advisory Council to be filled by such representatives, the remaining seats shall be filled by other members of those tribes. The duty of the Tribes Advisory Council to advise on such matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes in the State as may be referred to them by the Governor. It empowers the Governor to make rules prescribing or regulating, as the case may be, the number of members of the Council, the mode of their appointment and the appointment of the Chairman of the Council and of the officers and servants thereof; the conduct of its meetings and its procedure in general; and all other incidental matters. What are sixth schedule states? The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India contains provisions concerning the administration of tribal areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
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