Shimla: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Chairman Rameshwar Oraon has claimed that the private power companies are exploiting the people living in tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh (HP) and held the state government responsible for their apathy.

He also said private power companies are also discriminating in the distribution of compensation provided by the HP Power Corporation.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Oraon said, “The private companies are not giving appropriate compensation of Rs 1.04 lakh per biswa to those affected by the power project.”

Oraon added, “The Commission has asked the Union and the state government to provide forest rights and leasing land to the people in the tribal regions. We have submitted the report to the President on July 13 and the issue will be raised in the monsoon session of the parliament. “

He expressed concern that the Forest Rights Act which was passed in Parliament in 2008 is yet to be implemented by the Himachal Pradesh government. Oraon said that the progress in conferring forest rights to the tribals is delayed — against 5,356 applications, only 236 have got the nod.

He said though there is less tribal exploitation in the state as compared to the other states but they are deprived of the forest rights. He further added, “Out of 279 people who sought land on lease under the minority rights, only 59 have got the approval. While 3406 cases of minority rights violation are still pending.”