Deo brandishes Forest Rights Act
While other new UPA ministers present in Delhi have assumed office, Vyricherla Kishore Chandra Deo spent the entire day at his Lodhi Estate bungalow. “There was a seminar of the Tribal Affairs ministry on Wednesday. I didn’t want to attend without knowing the details about the subject. I will join Tribal Affairs ministry on Thursday,” Deo told HT.
His entry in Panchayati Raj ministry will take even more time. “I am told a few top level secretaries are out of station. I would wait for their return and join the ministry next week,” he said.The man shows no hurry even after a long wait to enter the UPA cabinet. His prime agenda, however, will be the proper implementation of the Forest Rights Act: "This is the basic thing—giving pattas and land rights to the tribals. I have to ensure that this pre-existing right is regularized."
Like his fellow-minister from Andhra Pradesh Jairam Ramesh, Deo too thinks land issue is the main problem areas. “Be it industrialization, mining or land acquisition, the key problem is land,” the schedule tribe MP from Araku analyzes, “the related problem is the implementation of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act. Even if you make a tribal family agree to give up their land, what will be the basis of their rehabilitation package if they are denied rights under PESA?”
As the UPA is trying to brush aside the corruption stain, Deo was favoured by Congress president Sonia Gandhi for his clean, non-controversial image.
But the fifth term Lok Sabha MP is ready to stir the issue of mining. “I will take up the issue with Prime Minister if we can afford indiscriminate mining for commercial gains. In the West, there are regulations and India too, should have some restriction. I don’t think we can afford export of raw minerals.”