The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a comprehensive report from Odisha Government on the basic amenities extended towards the would-be displaced people living in sea-erosion-affected Satabhaya village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.
The rights panel’s order has come in the wake of petition moved by rights activist Radhaknata Tripathy. The petition, alleging that rights for a decent living have been denied to 571 erosion-affected families, had sought NHRC’s intervention.
Constantly experiencing the travails and sufferings of seeing their houses gobbled up by mighty Bay of Bengal, the sea-erosion-hit families, who are being described as orphans of climate change, are living a pathetic life in Satabhaya as project to rehabilitate them at Bagapatia resettlement colony is yet to be implemented, the petition stated.
In 2008, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced to shift villagers to safer place in Bagapatia village which is about 8 KM from the sea-battered Satabhaya.
This is incidentally Odisha’s first rehabilitation project for sea-erosion-affected villages. However things got inordinately delayed mainly due to intriguing bureaucratic red-tape.
The relocation is expected to put brakes on the agonising tale of human tragedy induced by climate change. However it is yet to be materialized.
The state of primary education, maternity health care is left much to be desired. With little income avenues left with them, there has been large exodus of people from sea-battered village.
Human misery is writ large everywhere with the state government doing precious little to mitigate the sufferings of the Satabhaya villagers, the petitioner Tripathy said. Sixteen revenue villages spread over 3440 acres of land in Satabhaya panchayat have now been reduced to a couple of hamlets.
Five villages, Mohanpura, Sanagahirmatha, Paramnandapura, Kaduanasi and Sahebnagar have completely gone under the sea. Substantial portion of another eight villages have been submerged by the sea.
Most villages do not have human settlements, Tripathy pointed out in his petition. While people are registering vociferous protest against acquisition of their land elsewhere, the things are on the contrary in Satabhaya. People here are intent on leaving their ancestral land for ever as sea is steadily eating up their settlements.