BALASORE: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the State Government to rectify the mistakes and illegalities committed during the execution of Reba and Kapali river renovation project following a report submitted by the Special Rapporteur.
The apex human rights panel in its recent order has recommended to the Chief Secretary to ensure that all the land losers are paid compensation with interest and land revenue is not collected from them. Besides, socio-economic survey should be held to determine their entitlement for rehabilitation and alternative livelihood support.
The Commission has also directed the Government to appoint a technical committee to examine the quality of renovation work with regard to river bank erosion, accumulation of rain water, flooding of villages due to gap in embankments, provision for sluice gates, construction of check dams, approach roads and bridges.
Earlier, NHRC had issued a notice seeking a detailed report from the Chief Secretary while acting on a petition filed by rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy. In the petition, Tripathy had stated that the executing authorities of the Government flouted the laws relating to land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement and environment without conducting socio-economic survey.
On gram sabhas of the affected villagers, Tripathy had mentioned that the villagers, who had lost their land, standing crop and trees, were not heard by any Government official.
Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, NHRC deputed Special Rapporteur Damodar Sarangi to investigate the matter. Sarangi visited the affected areas in December last year and interacted with the victims besides seeking clarification from the Government over the large-scale human rights violation.
In his comprehensive report, he stated that the quality of renovation work is of poor standard and sluice gates, approach roads are not being constructed for which flood water enters to the villages.
Though a committee constituted by the State Government for inquiring into the complaints found that the executing agencies had damaged private land without due process of law, no compensation has been provided to the victims so far. The NHRC took a serious view after considering the report submitted by Sarangi.