AJODHYA HILLS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     14th August 2023        

Context: Tribal and forest-dwelling communities in West Bengal’s Ajodhya Hills have called for cancellation of Turga and Bandu Pump Storage Projects, alleging the state government has sidestepped consultative processes while acquiring forest land for the project.

Key Issues

  • Prakriti Bachao O Adivasi Bachao Maanch (Save Nature & Save Adivasi Platform), a forum representing tribal communities, alleged that the processes required by the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, better known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA), have not been followed.
  • For any project to happen in the forest land, more than 50 percent of the concerned Gram Sabha’s members’ consent is required under the FRA.
  • This consent needs to be taken by the Panchayat office for all nine villages only after informing them about all the details of the project.

Ajodhya Hills

  • Ajodhya Hills, is a small plateau with hilly surroundings located in the Purulia district of the state West Bengal, India. 
  • It is the easternmost part of the Chhotanagpur Plateau and extended part of Eastern Ghats range. 
  • Highest peak of Ajodhya Hills is Chamtaburu (699 m). The nearby populated town area is Bagmundi.
  • According to Hindu mythology, Rama and Sita had come to Ajodhya Hills and stayed during their exile. 
    • Sita was thirsty and Ram pierced an arrow through the Earth's soil crust and through that water gushed out. 
    • Sita quenched her thirst. The place is known as Sita-kunda
    • During the full moon day in Baisakh every year Santhal, Bhumij and Munda tribals of nearby areas come and join in the game of hunting wild animals, called Disum Sendra.