The historical injustice meted out to the displaced people, particularly tribals some of whom were displaced twice for dams and industrial projects, came to the fore at a public hearing on problems of displaced communities in undivided Koraput district on Tuesday.
Eminent social activists like Prafulla Samantray, Prof Manoranjan Mahanty and others said they were conducting such public hearings to build opinion for establishment of a National Commission for Displaced Persons.
While speaking on the plight of displaced persons in the region, Prafulla Samantray, social activist of repute said that even when more than 6 crore people were displaced in the country, 50 per cent of whom were tribals there was no proper rehabilitation.
In Koraput region there are stories of people who were displaced more than once for establishing dams & industries. While summing up deliberations by the affected people, Prof.Mahanty said that sufferings and human rights abuses of displaced people particularly of the tribal people were very painful.
The worst affected due to displacement in the state of Odisha are from Koraput region for having the maximum natural resources, Nrusingha Nanda Panigrahy, a retired engineer said.
He described the discrimination in the Dandakaranya project where 70 per cent land and resources were given to Bangladeshi refugees leaving only 30 per cent for welfare of tribals who were worst affected by the project.
People affected by 19 projects in places from Kashipur in Rayagada district to Chitrakonda in Malkangiri district of greater Koraput region took part in the public hearing.
About 100 people displaced by different projects of undivided Koraput district such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL), Upper Kolab Dam, Indravati Dam, Machhakund Dam, Balimela Dam, Nalco mining and industry, mining and industry at Kashipur, Telengiri Dam etc. participated in the public hearing.
Many displaced people deposed before a jury comprising of Prof. Manorajan Mohanty, Dr. Bidyut Mohanty, Prof. Golak Bihari Nath, Mr. Nrusingh Charan Panigrahy and Mr. Lingaraj.
Mr Sandeep Patnaik, state representative of Pune based National Centre for Advocacy Studies and a co-organiser of the event, said that the evidences showed serious failures in proper resettlement and rehabilitation of people displaced by many projects in the undivided Koraput.
Many cases of failure in upholding human rights and dignity of adivasi and other displaced people have also came quite starkly.