Sunday, March 16, 2014


The Pioneer, March 16, 2014
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Chief Secretary over denial of basic human rights to the ST and SC villagers who are victims of large-scale displacement due to the Indravati Project.
The apex human rights body passed the order while acting on a petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy. In 1978, the Indravati project was inaugurated at Mukhiguda in Kalahandi district by then Prime Minister Morarjee Desai. About 74 villages were submerged in the reservoir under this project. Of 74 villages about 6133 families (Mostly ST and SC families) were displaced and some of them were rehabilitated in Mangalapur, Chiraka and Santuguda villages of Jaypatna block in Kalahandi district and at various places in Nabrangpur district.
Tripathy contended that there has been no comprehensive post-facto analysis of large dams in the region done by the Government. The displaced people of Machhkund, Kolab, Indrabati, Balimela and number of other large dams were pushed into destitution, still fighting for their survival. There has been no count of the forests and fertile lands submerged by the dam and allied activities. Most of the victims have lost confidence in their capacity to bring out any change in their lives.
“In Machhkund the fourth generations of the oustees are holding protests after 55 years of displacement. However, there has been no intense and comprehensive study regarding this aspect of the displacement. More than 200 displaced families (mostly poor, illiterate ST, SC villagers) have not received any compensation so far even though they have lost their everything due to the execution of the project. These victims are roaming in lurch without State attention,” Tripathy alleged.
 He urged the Commission to direct the State Government to make a comprehensive study on the displaced families, besides providing them adequate compensation and rehabilitation. Besides, he also sought a direction to the Government to immediately give the villagers electricity connection and all weather road to the villages. Notably, the Chief Secretary is yet to reply to the NHRC even though the time granted by the NHRC has expired.

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