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‘Gram Sabha to determine land titles for tribals’

Ahmadabad, India: In India, Gujarat State Government’s ‘failure’ to hand over forest land to tribals figured in the State Assembly. And, Mangubhai Patel, State Tribal Minister, announced that Gram Sabha (an administrative unit at village level) will determine land titles.

In November 2010, the GoI committee criticised the Gujarat State government’s innovation, saying it was “increasingly dependent on satellite imagery” for getting evidence to support land claims by tribals. The Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG), it said, was using “CartoSat (2.5 metres) imagery to plot cultivated lands for each village, overlaying 2005 and 2007 images to determine whether pre-2005 occupants were still cultivating land.”

Finding flaw with the method, the committee said, the imagery failed to “distinguish the individual plots of each claimant”, and “maps produced have been found to leave out large areas of villages, or the cultivated lands, because of interpretational errors by BISAG staff.” It added that there was lack of transparency, as the claimants were “often not given copies of the maps, nor explained methods to prepare them.”

Source: TOI