Bhubaneswar/Kendrapara: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Chief Secretary to take appropriate measures in order to compensate, rehabilitate and resettle people affected by various projects in Koraput district.
The direction came in response to a petition filed by rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy.
In his petition, Tripathy had informed the commission that Koraput is worst hit district in the country as more than 50 per cent of it is affected due to execution of various projects, including Machkund, Nalco, HAL, UKHEP and Kolab, causing large scale internal displacement and consequent problems.
The displaced people, he said, have been deprived of land rights. Most of the victims, the petitioner said belonged to poor ST and SC communities.
Tripathy also alleged that proper survey has not been conducted by the government citing petty reasons like lack of staff.
Thousands of victims suffer due to lack of livelihood, bare necessities of life leading to serious human rights issues and being forced to die without remedies.
In pursuant to the complaint, the District Magistrate of Koraput informed the rights bosy that many steps were taken for rehabilitation of the persons displaced due to several projects, including Machkund, NALCO, HAL, UKHEP and Kolab.
Challenging the report submitted by the state authorities, Tripathy said that the report is contrary to the ground realities.
Considering the gravity of the issue as highlighted by Tripathy, the NHRC directed to investigate the issues through its Special Rapporteur so as to know the ground realities and steps taken by state functionaries to address the grievances so far.
Tripathy stated that he has personally visited some areas where the affected people have been languishing while deprived of their legitimate rights in many projects, including Upper Kolab.
The petition also urged the NHRC to ensure potable drinking water, Right to Food under NFSA, primary education and healthcare 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 quarterly basis.
The commission asked the Special Rapporteur of Eastern Zone, Vinod Agrawal, to enquire the matter thoroughly and submit the report to the commission within eight weeks.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the investigation could not be carried out and finally the commission directed the Chief Secretary to look into the grievances of the affected persons sincerely and take appropriate remedial measures at the earliest.