Kendrapara, Jul 11 : Taking a serious view of the non-responsive attitude in submission of replies, on the issue of displaced people of Indravati Hydroelectric Power projects the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued summons to Odisha Chief Secretary to appear in person before it on July 23.
Acting on a petition filed by Rights activists Radhakanta Tripathy, the Commission on its order issued on July 6 last asked the Chief Secretary to appear with requisite reports on the steps taken to comply with the directions passed since 2013 to ensure the basic human rights of displaced people.
The Commission observed that despite direction and subsequent reminders, the Chief Secretary has failed to submit the requisite report to date.
The Commission said if the requisite report is received by the Commission on or before August 16 next the personal appearance of the concerned authority shall stand dispensed with.
In his petition, Mr Tripathy alleged that the state government denied basic amenities to the villagers of around 100 villages belonging to Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, and Koraput districts of Odisha displaced due to Indravati Hydro Electric Power Project,
Under the direction of the NHRC different departments of the State have forwarded the same old reports repeatedly, which the Commission brought on record and expressed its displeasure over the manner the reports are being forwarded without taking due caution.
Mr. Tripathy in his rejoinder stated that victims are poor rural masses belonging to lower strata of the society and their problems continue till date as remedial measures are yet to be taken by the State government.
The petitioner requested the NHRC to take up matters with the Chief Secretary of the State for the unreasonable delay to comply with recommendations of the Special Rapporteur about the project covering Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts and to send a team of officials to investigate.
He pointed out that the then Special Rapporteur Damodar Sarangi had mentioned in his report that the project affected many more villages in Kalahandi and Nabarangpur as well as in Koraput districts and displaced persons have been shifted to more than 500 resettlement clusters spread over Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts and the matter be further investigated.
Mr Tripathy also brought on record the direction of the Commission in one of his earlier cases in 2013 wherein the NHRC directed the Chief Secretary, to constitute a team of responsible officers to look after the needs and problems of the rehabilitated persons properly but it is yet to be complied with.
The Rights activist who has been filing a series of cases on the issue for more than a decade requested the NHRC to depute a team of officials to visit the affected areas assess the situation by associating the complainant/victims and prepare a factual report with recommendations for the entire area and all the people affected by Indravati Dam in a timely manner.
He also urged the commission to ensure rehabilitation, resettlement and compensation of the affected people , collect overall data of the displaced people based on Revenue Records, Election ID cards and ration cards, ensure benefits of the social welfare schemes of both the Central and State Government to the victim