Rights panel orders probe into plight of Hatibari displaced in Odisha
By Express News Service | Published: 19th June 2017 07:23 AM |
BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked its special rapporteur to investigate large scale displacement in Deo irrigation project at Hatibari in Mayurbhanj district following allegations of corruption by State authorities in compensating and settling the affected people.
Sources said 469 families displaced for the project have been suffering for the last over two decades as they are deprived of legitimate compensation due to irregularities. Since most of them are uneducated, they have been subjected to torture and fraud.
The direction from the apex human rights body came in the wake of a petition and subsequent rejoinders filed by Supreme Court lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy.
The petitioner alleged that the displaced villagers have been subjected to harassment and cheating due to failure of State officials to check corrupt practice. The amount to be paid under the rehabilitation and resettlement policy has been siphoned off by corrupt officials, he contended.
Last year, pursuant to the directions of the Commission, Additional District Magistrate of Mayurbhanj had submitted a report claiming that as per 1994 Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, the displaced families were paid `94,365 as rehabilitation assistance.
‘’Later, 347 displaced families were paid `two lakh each after the Rehabilitation and Peripheral Advisory Committee (RPDAC) meeting in 2009. The remaining 122 families have been asked to evacuate their houses,’’ the official said in the report denying any harassment to the displaced families.
However, during a special audit conducted in June, 2015, it was found that corrupt practices and frauds were made by unscrupulous Government officials and this was intimated to the Water Resources Department for disciplinary action, the report stated.
Tripathy said the report clearly admitted of rampant corruption by officials.
The NHRC has asked the special rapporteur to visit the site, interact with villagers and ascertain the reasons of human rights violation, corruption and unreasonable delay in rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced families.