BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to Chief Secretary and four district Collectors over the delay in rehabilitation and resettlement of villagers displaced due to Indravati Hydro-Electric project.
Rights campaigner Radhakanta Tripathy, who brought the plight of landless ST villagers before the NHRC, had requested the rights panel to ensure their proper rehabilitation and adequate compensation. In the petition, he highlighted the displacement of more than 15,000 families, which included Scheduled Tribes, dalits and poor farmers, from over 100 villages in Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts, thereby forcing them to suffer helplessly with deprivation of basic necessities of life.
‘’Unknown disease has claimed 18 people during July-November in villages surrounded by waters of Indravati water reservoir project in Kalahandi. Panic spread in 22 villages under two-gram panchayats (GPs) due to the deaths. The deceased belonged to Bhurubhuri, Temera and Barabadi villages under Talanagi GP,’’ he stated. As the villages are surrounded by rivers and there is only one boat ferrying people to the mainland, it has become difficult for the villagers to access primary healthcare, ration and pension.
While the villagers are imprisoned by water throughout the year, Tripathy said the State administration remained a mute spectator to the plight of the people. Denial and deprivation of bare necessities of life violate the right to food and right to be rehabilitated and resettled with compensation as per law, he alleged.
The petitioner requested the NHRC to depute its Special Rapporteur to study the situation and formulate appropriate recommendations for both the Centre as well as State Government to follow. Considering the petition, the Commission, in its order, asked the Chief Secretary and Collectors of Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi and Koraput to submit the report within 15 days. The case will be placed before NHRC at an open hearing at Bhubaneswar scheduled to be held between January 9 and 11.