After Discovery of Gold Jackpot, Over 400 Tribal Families Fear Homelessness in Sonbhadra

Kusum Tewari

Sonbhadra: More than 400 tribal families in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, have already started fearing homelessness, after the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has discovered gold deposits of around 3,000 tonnes worth Rs 12 lakh crore here, which is almost five times India’s current reserve of the yellow metal.

The official process of e-tendering has started after the GSI on Saturday confirmed the gold deposits found in Son Pahadi and Hardi areas of the district.

Sonbhadra’s name may come on the country’s top list and world due to the maximum gold deposits, but the other aspect of it is that around 250 families of Panari village panchayat and 200 families of Dohar and Piparahwa villages will be displaced.

Sonbhadra is a tribal-dominated area and Baiga and Gond tribes make their living from agriculture and hunting. If they are rendered homeless, then it is certain that apart from their houses, they will also loose their lands. However, on behalf of the state government, the administration has promised them of compensation.

Rameshwar Gond, a former village head of Gram Panchayat Pandaraksh and environmental activist associated with Vanvasi Seva Ashram, said, “Pandariksh Gram Panchayat area consists of Hardi, Pindara Dohar and Pipparhawa villages. Most of the Baiga and Gond tribal communities live here. Hardi is situated on three sides of the hill. The tribals will surely be displaced from this area now.”

Gond feels that displacement will pose a crisis of livelihood in front of them.

He also said, “The government will give a fixed amount of compensation, but it is impossible to buy agricultural land again. It would be better if the government gives land for land and house for house for compensation.”

However, the District Magistrate S.K. Rajalingam told IANS on Saturday, “Gold has been confirmed for now. There is a lot of time left for the mining process to begin. When the displacement comes, the tribals will be relocated as per the rules and resettled.”

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