Gadchiroli April 12 (District Correspondent) The process of tendu leaves collection and sale auction, which is likely to fetch the wages of Rs. 16. 36 was completed by the Gram Sabhas recently on the very site of the ongoing ‘Thiyya” agitation at village Todgatta in Etapalli taluka.
The tribal from 63 villages in 7 village panchayat areas including Damkondawahi, Besewada, Walvi, Mohandi, Gudjur, Nagalmeta, and Puske have launched the ‘Thiyya Andolan’ since March 11 last against iron ore mining from the hills in their areas. As all the villagers are participating in this agitation, their Gram Sabhas decided to conduct the auction process of tendu leaves collector at the site of the agitation itself. Quite an enthusiasm has prevailed among the tribals with the response to this auction.
Under the banner of ‘Surjagad Area Traditional Gotul Committee’ and ‘Damkondawahi Sangharsha Samiti’ this agitation has been started to stop the mining of iron ore on various hills including Surjagad. They have also demanded not to build Gatta – Todgatta interstate road, not to build police camp in the PESA Scheduled Area, to construct the hospital, school, college etc.
There are other important demands also that include that the vacancies of officials and employees like doctors, health workers, health workers, teachers, talathi should be filled, physical and basic facilities should be created in the tribal areas. The thousands of tribal people are participating in this agitation with their own food grains and clothings. They have been cooking their food at the site of the agitation itself under the open sky and also sleeping under the same open sky at night in dense forest without braving the threat to life from wild animals and poisonous serpents and insects.
In such a situation, to ensure that, the tribals are not deprived of the employment of collecting and selling the tendu leaves which earns them cash only once a year, the auction process was conducted. This will provide the jobs of tendu collection to the villagers.
The Surjagad Local Traditional Gotul Committee and Damkondawahi Sangharsha Samiti President Ramesh Kavdo, Area Chief Sainu Gota, Secretary Laxman Navadi, Mangesh Narote, Ulge Timma, Pradeep Hedo, Sainu Hichami, Kotturam Potavi, Nitin Pada, Sheila Gota, Mangesh Hedo, Sushila Narote, Savita Kaushi, Sushila Tigga, Sunita Kavdo and protesting citizens discussed the issues and unanimously agreed to the resolution of conducting the auction at the agitation site.
Therefore, it is certain that Tendu leaves, which has been providing a good amount of cash to the tribals, will not have to bear any financial loss in the transaction of collection and sale in the current tendu season.
The protestors are demanding the immediate cancellation of the lease of all iron ore mines sanctioned and proposed by the government in order to protect the rights given by the constitution, fifth schedule, pesa and forest rights act and also to save the customs, traditions, water, forest and land of the tribals.