Gadchiroli July 29 (District Correspondent) This unique agitation is continuing Braving the heavy rains, scorching heat and chilling cold, the ‘Thiyya’ agitation of the tribals has been going on for the past over 140 days at a remote tribal village of Todgatta in Etapalli taluka to oppose the proposed mining at Damkondawahi and other places in the district. However, the state government or the administration has not taken any cognizance of this public agitation as yet and the people are left to suffer.
Damkondavahi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti and Surjagad Patti Parampparik Gotul Samiti are going on indefinite agitation that was started from March 11.
This movement has been supported by various other local organizations in the area including Bhamragarh Circle Traditional Gotul Samiti, Venhara Area Gotul Samiti, Todsa circle Gotul Samiti and Ropi Barsa etc. Also, the ‘Mulniwasi Bachao Manch’ in Chhattisgarh has also supported it. Many organizations and workers from all over the country have visited this historical movement and announced their support till date.
On June 11, 2023, Aheri MLA Dharmarao Atram, who is now the cabinet minister of Maharashtra, reached the protest site and said, “As long as we are alive, we will not allow any other quarry except Lloyds and Metal Company.” In the 2019 elections, Atram had similarly assured the people that “If I am elected, I will not let a single stone out of Surajgarh Hills”. But for the last two years, mining is going on at the same Surjagarh hill at their convenience.
So how much truth is there in what Mr. Dharmarao Atram says or how seriously should people take it, Adv. Lalsu nogoti, tribal leader and former ZP councillor has asked. The political parties in the country and in the state are in favour of the mining company that loots the water, forest, land and natural resources. The existence, identity and self-esteem of the tribals and other traditional forest dwellers of this country are under threat, Nogoti has said in a statement issued here.
The Tribal and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Forest Rights Recognition Act, 2006, PESA Act, 1996, Biodiversity Act, 2004, the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India itself are in violation by with the abrupt mining. By changing the Indian Forest Protection Act, a convenient way is being created for brokers, capitalists to allow them to loot the natural mineral wealth here, he has alleged.
In such a situation, the local tribals and other traditional forest dwellers are fighting a single-handed constitutional battle. People are coming from their villages and houses to the protest site with their own ration and cooking their food by setting up challahs for each village. A meeting is being held twice a day at the protest site to discuss the issues and the agitation is continued without any break.
For the first time, students also participated in this movement in large numbers. Currently, as schools and colleges have started, students have gone back to colleges. The agitators have built thatched huts to protect them from the rain. On behalf of the activist of the movement going on in Todgatta, a public appeal has been made to participate in the agitation and help the movement by giving public suppor