Kendrapara: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has deputed its Special Rapporteur Bibhuti Bhusan Misra to investigate the large scale displacement of people due to the Kanpur Project on the Baitarani River in the Keonjhar district of Odisha.
Misra has replaced former Rapporteur Damodar Sarangi who completed his tenure, after reaching the age of retirement.
Taking a serious note of the earlier petition and subsequent submissions filed by Rights Activist and Lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, the NHRC sought the report within eight weeks. The order has already been communicated to the authorities and the new Special Rapporteur.
In response to the directions of the Commission, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Northern Division, Sambalpur, was asked to conduct a fresh inquiry on the complaint in view of the comments October 5, 2016 of the complainant. He submitted a detailed report along with findings of the enquiry and point-wise comments on the issue raised by the complainant.
Now the NHRC has appointed Bibhuti Bhushan Misra as Special Rapporteur of the Commission for the East Zone and has directed him to visit the affected area to assess the situation and to recommend measures for the protection of human rights of the affected people and submit his report to the commission within eight weeks.
A copy of the letter received from the Principal Secretary, Revenue & Disaster Management Department, along with the enquiry report of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Northern Division, Sambalpur, his findings as well as point-wise comments on the issues raised by the complainant was also sent to Bibhuti Bhushan Misra for verification and for his comments within the same period.
Earlier the RDC, Sambalpur, had asked the stakeholders to be present at the RPDAC on November 2.
Tripathy alleged that thousands of displaced people have been suffering and the reply submitted by the authority does not give a true picture of the affected people.
He said the report submitted by the state is just an eye wash. The report is silent on the RPDAC meeting interval, the number of people to be settled, the lack of basic infrastructure and deprivation of the bare necessities of life in the area, he added.
No comprehensive report has been prepared regarding land acquisition as per law, rehabilitation of the villagers and the living condition of the villagers, Tripathy alleged.
The on the spot investigation by Misra will be scheduled from July 15 to July 18.
Earlier the NHRC, issuing a final reminder to the Odisha Chief Secretary, directed him to submit the requisite report failing which the commission would be forced to secure the same through his personal appearance under Section 13 of the PHR Act.