Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], May 9 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the Odisha Chief Secretary on Sunday to take appropriate measures to compensate, rehabilitate and resettle people affected in Koraput district due to different projects.
The direction came in response to a petition filed by human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy.
In his petition, Tripathy mentioned that Koraput district is the worst affected in the country as more than fifty per cent of the district is affected due to various projects like Machhkund, NALCO, HAL and Kolab projects executed in the district causing large scale internal displacement and consequence problems.
The displaced masses are basically deprived of land rights, Tripathy alleged.
Most of the victims belong to poor ST and SC communities. Proper survey has not been conducted by the government citing petty reasons like lack of staff, Tripathy said.
She also said thousands of victims suffer due to lack of livelihood, bare necessities of life for these displaced families create serious human rights problems and force them to die without remedies.
At times the victim are denied caste certificates or issued ambiguous certificates to the victims. For example, Dulia-Paika, Dulia General, Dulia Paika etc," she added.
However, in pursuant to the complaint, the District Magistrate of Koraput informed the commission that, many steps were taken for rehabilitation of the persons displaced due to Machhkund Project, NALCO Project, HAL, Sunabed and UKHEP and Kolab project.
Challenging the report submitted by the state authority wherein it has been submitted that all possible steps have been taken by the state to ensure the rights of the affected people, Tripathy stated the report is contrary to the ground realities.
Considering the gravity of the issue as mentioned by Tripathy, the NHRC directed to investigate the issues through its Special Rapporteur to know the ground realities and steps taken by state functionaries address the grievances so far.
The report speaks the compliance portion of the affected area and tactfully avoids the plight of project-affected people who are yet to be rehabilitated properly. He has personally visited some areas where the affected people have been deprived of their legitimate rights in Upper Kolab, Machchkund project, Jalaput and other areas, Tripathy stated in his rejoinder.
"HAL displaced people, hundreds of them are still in physical possession of land and have been living on the same for decades. The displaced mass in Nalco has been facing the same fate. The terms and conditions of MOU signed between the company and the Government of Odisha are not complied with in HAL and NALCO cases," Tripathy said.
Tripathy requested the NHRC to verify the MOU signed by the HAL and NALCO with the Government of Odisha and the real implementation status in terms of human rights, ROR, Rehabilitation, Livelihood, and details of RPDAC meetings, the minutes thereof in all the four cases as mentioned above.
The petition also urged the NHRC to ensure potable drinking water, right to food under NFSA, Primary education and health care facilities in the area, and time-bound implementation of the recommendation of the Commission with tangible impact and submit the details with documentary evidence before the Commission on a quarterly basis.
The Commission asked the Special Rapporteur of Eastern Zone Dr. Vinod Agrawal, to enquire the matter thoroughly and submit the report to the Commission within 8 weeks. However, due to the corona pandemic, the investigation could not take place. Finally, the Commission directed the chief secretary to look into the grievances of the projects-affected persons sincerely and take appropriate remedial action, as soon as possible. (ANI)