NHRC seeks comprehensive report from Odisha, Chhatishgarh to resolve Hirakud displacement matter

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], May 23 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought for a Comprehensive report from the Chief Secretaries of Odisha and Chhattisgarh on the issue of large scale displacement and subsequent failure of both the state governments in rehabilitation and resettlement of more than 26,000 families due to construction of Hirakud Dam.

The NHRC has also asked its Special Rapporteur, B B Misra, to complete the investigation and submit the final probe report to the Commission within eight weeks covering all the affected areas and the actual ground reality.

Adjudicating the case filed by a Supreme Court lawyer and noted human rights activist, Radhakanta Tripathy, the NHRC passed the order.

Since thousands of families of Raigarh and Sarguja districts of Chhattisgarh have been the victims of Hirakud and have been facing problems due to inaction of State Authorities, and the Chief Secretary failed to respond, the NHRC sought the ATR.

Explaining the plight of the displaced victims, Tripathy said that without proper rehabilitation and compensation, more than 26,000 families have been displaced for the construction of Hirakud Dam project. The execution of Hirakud Dam Project has submerged more than 360 villages covering more than 1,23,000 acres of land and displaced more than one lakh people.

Seventy years have passed, but still, the third generation of the victims could not get justice due to corrupt and lethargic bureaucracy. The Government takes steps to trace and count tigers, Olive Ridley turtles etc every year but forgets to identify the displaced victims' families, Tripathy alleged.

Pursuant to the direction of the NHRC, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Northern Division, Odisha, in his report submitted that the land was acquired for Hiradud Dam Project during the year 1952-53. Steps were taken from time to time to mitigate grievances of the displaced families who belong to Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Subarnapur.

The issues with regard to payment of ex-gratia, settlement of agriculture land, basic amenities etc, stands settled but certain service groups of people including Jhankar, Chowkidar, Nariha, Dhoba, Bhandari were not awarded full compensation and yet to be rehabilitated, he pointed out.

Considering the rejoinder filed by Tripathy, the NHRC deputed its Special Rapporteur, Misra for detailed investigation.

In his investigation report the Rapporteur stated that a large number of people have not got compensation and are yet to be settled.

Based on the investigation report, the NHRC sought details from the State Governments as to the total number of villages that are yet to be declared revenue villages.

The Government must furnish the details of newspapers published throughout the years to inform the victims. The Chief Secretary has also been asked to provide information related to the Survey of lands and villages, regularisation of Land allotment and ensuring the bare necessities of life to the Hirakud Dam affected people, the NHRC said in its order. (ANI)

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