Posted 21 September 2011, by Pradeep Baisakh, Orissa Diary, orissadiary.com
In place of the signatories in the title like Divisional Forest Officer, District Collector and District Welfare Officer the self-styled title contains the signature and seal of President of Forest Rights Committee (FRC), Sarpanch of Panchayat and Secretary of FRC respectively. One of the title which is issued in the name of Sripati Majhi of Ranjuguda Village in Renga Panchayat of Kashipur Block in Rayagada District of Odisha contains the signature of Saiba Majhi the President of FRC, Sumitra Majhi the Sarapanch of Renga Panchayat and Anantaram Majhi the Secretary of FRC. The title recognizes right over three acres of Forest land which was claimed before the Administration.
Hundred and fifty such titles in Renga Panchayat and fifty titles each in Kashipur and Mandibisi Panchayat have already been issued to the claimants according to their claim after due verification by the FRC. Local Activist Nabin Nayak says that around 15,000 tribal people had undertaken a march in February 2011 to ventilate their grievance of inaction and apathy of district administration in recognizing their forest rights. Scenario did not change, so the people finally decided to issue their titles by equating their Sarpanch with the District Collector.
These titles are already in the knowledge of government officials who still remain silent to such novel form of protest of people.