Jajpur: Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC), which assumes significance in dealing with issues of the displaced and land losers, and in suggesting developmental projects, has apparently been pushed to the doldrums over the years as the meetings are not being held regularly as per norms. The RPDAC in the state was formed July 6, 2006 to tackle R&R and other issues with effective solution, particularly in mineral bearing areas and industrial areas of the state. As per guidelines, Revenue and Disaster Management department has been mandated to hold RPDAC meetings at district levels four times a year –once in every three months.
Hence, RPDAC meetings in Jajpur district should have been held 64 times during the last 16 years. But ironically, RPDAC meetings have been held only 11 times in some mining hit and industrially rich districts in the state. This was revealed by Revenue and Disaster Management minister while replying to queries in this regard in the Assembly recently. Revenue Divisional Commissioners (RDCs) are chairpersons of RPDACs while Collectors are the conveners. It is alleged that indifference of the top officials has left the RPDACs in doldrums. RPDAC’s role assumes significance as the state government lays stress on industrialisation to foster economic growth and alleviate unemployment. Issues of rehabilitation and displacement crop up and persist in areas where industries are being set up. This is when RPDAC comes to play its role with its mediatory and advisory roles in resolving these issues on a priority basis. As per guidelines, decisions taken by RPDACs are executed in the troubled areas. But in reality, RPDAC’s roles are allegedly being given a short shrift the reasons of which are unknown.
Reports said in Angul, RPDAC meetings relating to Mahanadi Coalfields, Talcher, have been held only six times between 2012 and 2021. In Bolangir, RPDAC meetings about Lower Suktel project were held three times between 2007 and 2018 while it was held twice about the issues of Arti Steels Limited; thrice for Tata Powers and twice for KVK Nilachal Powers in Cuttack. In Dhenkanal, RPDAC meetings were held thrice for Rungta Mines; seven times for Kalinganagar Industrial Complex in Jajpur between 2006 and 2016.
Moreover, such meetings were confined to 11 times in case of Mahanadi Coalfields; nine times for Vedanta Alumina and three times for OPGC in Jharsuguda. It was held eight times in case of Vedanta Alumina at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi; five times for Kanpur major irrigation project in Keonjhar; five times for Utkal Alumina International and three times for Aditya Alumina in Rayagada; 10 times for Aditya Alumina; nine times for Hindalco Hirakud and nine times for Burla MCL in Sambalpur. It was found that there has been no RPDAC meeting for some projects from 2016 till date. When asked, Kalinganagar ADM Santosh Kumar Mishra said that the administration has been successfully handling issues of the displaced with focus on employment. A decision on the RPDAC meeting will be taken in time, he added.
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