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Polavaram project: Panel sees violation of tribal rights

NCST sends report to AP, Odisha, Centre, PPA; CS told to file compliance report in 4 weeks

Published: 19th September 2021 08:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2021 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) member Ananta Naik, who recently visited affected areas of Polavaram Project, in his report, observed serious violation of tribal rights and expressed anguish over the delaying attitude of the government authorities. He said state authorities have failed in rehabilitating and resettlement of the displaced tribal families. The inaction and negligence of the state authorities is not only painful, but also violates the constitutional provisions meant for the safeguard and welfare measures of the tribal people.

In the tour report, sent to the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, Secretary of Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Director and Polavaram Project Authority, he made certain recommendations to the AP government and asked the Chief Secretary to submit a compliance report in four weeks. In his 20-page report, Naik made nineteen observations and said new habitations lack basic amenities such as drainage systems, roads, drinking water, sanitation and electricity. The villages such as Yerravaram are found without potable drinking water facilities and drainage systems. Further, they do not have proper roads and electricity connectivity.

“The commission has received a number of complaints from the tribal habitants that the houses constructed are leaking from ceiling and walls and the same has been personally verified. Further, there are no proper windows for ventilation in kitchens and some of the houses in Moolapet were found without doors,” he said. Many PDFs complained that lands given to them were far away from their habitations and some said land given to them is not fit for cultivation. Though `10 lakh was promised as compensation by the State government, the same was not being implemented.

He observed that the government is enthusiastically executing the construction of the dam project lacking the spirit of proper rehabilitation of the displaced families. All the amenities mentioned in the Act 30 of 2013 and its schedule are lacking as on the date. The Commission asked the state government to ensure houses meant for PDFs are with proper ventilation, doors and windows and the leakages are taken care of. Most importantly, the state government must ensure to preserve and promote the tribal lifestyle with the sanctity of their culture and tradition. It must encourage the traditional knowledge system of the tribal people and make sure the same remains intact.

Serious problems in habitations  
New habitations lack basic amenities like drainage system, roads, drinking water, sanitation and electricity
Villages such as Yerravaram are found without drinking water facilities and drainage system
Villages do not have proper roads and electricity connectivity
Houses constructed are leaking from ceiling and walls 
Recommendations to AP 
Speed up rehabilitation process to ensure that all the PDFs get their legitimate dues
Govt must ensure all PDFs get  compensation and R&R packages under 2013 Act 
Recommendation to the Centre  
Evaluate R&R works, preferably on a monthly basis, and ensure that the R&R of the PDFs in all the affected areas in all the states are completed in a time-bound manner



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