Expressing concern over acquisition of land for development projects without paying adequate compensation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 9 January 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.