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NHRC concerned over land acquisition in Odisha

 Expressing concern over acquisition of land for development projects without paying adequate compensation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today said the Odisha government required to make efforts for improvement of health, education and the socio-economic situation, particularly in the KBK region.

"The commission notes with concern several instances from within the state of acquisition of land for various development projects without adequate compensation or alternative livelihood support to those displaced from their land," NHRC Chairperson Justice HL Dattu said while inaugurating a three-day camp court of the commission here.

"To add to this (displacement issue), there are disturbing allegations of police brutality against protesting villagers and even journalists covering such projects," he said.

Referring to large-scale trafficking of women, Justice Dattu said it was indicative of a problem that was not simply related to lack of effective protection for women and girls, but also aspects of poverty, illiteracy and lack of adequate livelihood opportunities which often compelled families to relinquish the care of their children, including adolescent girls, to outsiders such as unscrupulous employment agencies and even shelter homes.

"The commission has been deeply concerned about protection of the rights of girls and women. In this context, we would like to know from the authorities about the initiatives taken, particularly with respect to human trafficking, if any, child marriage as well as efforts towards gender sensitisation among police personnel and other public functionaries," he said.

Deaths related to starvation in the KBK districts have also been of concern to NHRC since the time it first took cognizance of the matter in the 1990s, he said.

Effective implementation of key socio-economic flagship programmes of the Centre were crucial in ensuring the socio-economic well-being of particularly those who grappled with poverty and lack of livelihood opportunities on a daily basis, he added.

Justice Dattu said in Malkangiri district, schools were in a state of abject neglect and reports suggested that nearly 72 primary schools had no infrastructure, adding that this raised serious concerns over the implementation of the Right to Children and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan there.

Malkangiri also lacked basic facilities for education and health, Justice Dattu said, adding that a number of human rights violation cases were being registered from the backward KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) districts.

"In the 2015-16 (upto December 12, 2016) period, the commission registered a total of 21,912 cases from the state of Odisha," he said.

A number of cases were related to issues of internal displacement, child and bonded labourer, implementation and enforcement of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, problems faced by farmers and agricultural labourers, trafficking of women and children and the socio-economic backwardness of these districts.

Justice Dattu, however, said, "During the course of various visits of the commission and its special rapporteurs across Odisha, it has been observed that many positive developments have taken shape..."

On the first day of the camp court, three benches were formed. In the first bench, Justice Dattu will hear 33 cases.

In the second bench, Justice D Murugesan will hear 35 cases, while Justice SC Sinha will hear 39 cases in the third bench.



Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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