DISPLACED IN UTTER DESPAIR: GOVT. SHOULD SEEK SCIENTIFIC REMEDY

OM Bureau

Bhubaneswar:

Have at least a socio-economic survey on the impact of industrialization so that the problems of the displaced could be scientifically addressed to, advised a subject-matter specialist, here at a state-level consultation workshop on Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R). He is Mr.S.M.Jamdar, Revenue secretary to the State Government of Karnatak.

In its over-enthusiasm to help private capital, the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa has caused catastrophic damage to the fundamental rights of the poor public who are being rendered homeless, batch after batch, when the records of right over their land are being changed under the Land Acquisition Act, in favour of the industrialists.

The latest instance of State patronage to private industry at the cost of the poor sons of the soil has been laid bare at Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex, where administrative action was so brutal that people, who were demanding appropriate compensation against their land before an industry starts, fled away into the deep forests in fear of further police atrocity, leaving behind the kids and elders who could not run. This resulted in starvation death of two baby children and an old abandoned man. Suppressed agony of the people all over the state following this particular instance has generated waves of qualms in the corridor of power that made it have the aforesaid workshop. Be it an eyewash or not, a R&R policy was placed to be projected as the state GovernmentÂ’s proof of its humanitarian approach to the problems of the displaced. The workshop was to work on this framework.

Pointing out that absence of socio-economic survey of the villages acquired for use by industry in the sate leads nowhere in rehabilitation, Jamdar underlined that only such a survey may make the government aware of the infrastructure that was traditionally available to the displaced persons cementing their adherence to their villages and show the way as to how the same could be re-created in the new habitations so that the displaced people would not feel that they are thrown away from their living environment.

Revenue secretary T.K.Mishra, maintaining that the existing R&R policy is quite satisfactory, wanted the workshop to suggest if any improvement could be bought about so that the mass unrest being witnessed over the rehabilitation issues are adequately tackled. Development Commissioner Ajit kumar Tripathy suggested that the policy should be such that the rehabilitation sites should ensure amenities more than what was available to the displaced persons in their earlier habitations in order to attract them to the change in their environment.

UNDP had prevailed upon the state government to organize this workshop.