Bhadrak: Special rapporteur of NHRC, Bibhuti Bhusan Mishra, visited a number of villages which had been affected by the Reba-Kapali river renovation project under Tihidi block in Bhadrak district.
There were allegations of human rights violations during the execution of the project at Orali, Hatanagar, Mitasahi, Bodak and Kasimpur in Bodak panchayat.
Mishra conducted an inquiry into the alleged rights violations. He was accompanied by land acquisition officer Kartik Chandra Mandal, water resources department assistant engineer Nishikant Patra and other officials, some environmentalists and rights activists Radhakant Tripathy and Kalindi Mallick.
It may be noted that engineers had tried to divert the course of the rivers during dredging and excavation. As a result, there were breaches on the embankments, which led to extensive damage in those villages.
The affected villagers met the special rapporteur and others during the visit and demanded immediate relief measures for their losses.
Bodak sarpanch Sashikant Samal escorted the delegation to Orali, Hatanagar, Mitasahi, Bodak and Kashimpur to show the extent of damage. Locals also drew the commission’s attention to the need for a sluice gate at the confluence of Reba and Kapali.
During the visit, the commission’s rapporteur also received a memorandum from people of Ichhada Berhampur, Sharifpur, Karanjigunupur, Talasitha and Sharadpur under Bhandaripokhari block.
In the memorandum, they claimed that these areas located at the upper end of the rivers were also affected by the project, but the affected people have not been compensated.
Villagers of Kerua under Dhamnagar block also alleged that people in their area were hit by the project, but compensation for the land and trees has not been paid.