National Scheduled Tribes commission convenes 6th hearing, Rourkela Steel Plant oustee issues unresolved
NCST's 2020 report had observed that all displaced families have not received alternative agricultural land, some were given agriculturally unfit land over 100 km away from land given for residence.
ROURKELA: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) held its sixth hearing over rehabilitation & resettlement (R&R) issues of tribals displaced by SAIL’s Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Delhi on Thursday, October 7, 2021.
The meeting reviewed the status of implementation of the Commission’s recommendations by the State government and RSP/SAIL management and reportedly expressed displeasure over inordinate delay in compliance.
The hearing was attended by Sundargarh Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan, SAIL’s Executive Director (Personnel & Administration) PK Satpathy and two other SAIL officials but Principal Secretary of Revenue Department and SAIL Chairman were conspicuous by their absence despite summons to appear in person.
In February 2020, the then NCST Chairman Nand Kumar Sai had submitted the commission’s Special Report to President Ramnath Kovind for presentation in both houses of the Parliament under Clause (6) of Article 338A of the Constitution.
Subsequently in June that year, the Tribal Affairs Ministry had urged the Chief Secretary of Odisha to examine the NCST’s report and indicate action taken or reasons for non-acceptance on the recommendations. The report had observed that all displaced families have not received alternative agricultural land, some were given agriculturally unfit land over 100 km away from land given for residence, continued delay in issue of Records of Rights and lack of basic amenities in resettlement colonies of RSP.
It had then recommended employment for left-out land oustees and action against those faking displacement and landing jobs in RSP, return of surrendered land of 4,514.62 acres along with unacquired land to the original tenants and holistic and proactive steps by the government and RSP to resolve problems of the displaced tribals.
The cause of RSP’s tribal land oustees had been taken up by Lachhu Oram, President of RSP & Marshalling Yard Displaced Persons’ Committee and acting on his petition, the Commission had held the first hearing of the case at a three-day camp in Rourkela in February 2016. Asked, Oram expressed regret and said the issues are unresolved despite the commission’s special report recently tabled in the Parliament.