Pradeep Pattanayak

A three-member expert team of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on Monday visited Kanpur dam and affected areas near Basudevpur village under Champua sub-division in Keonjhar district to take stock of displacement, rehabilitation and resettlement process.

The team comprising Shivaram Krishnan, Regional Director of NCST, V Ashok Vardhan and senior advocate Radhakanta Tripathi visited the affected areas of the reservoir such as Chamakpur, Murusuan, Shankarpur etc. and interacted with the displaced to understand their problems. 

When asked about their visit and findings, Shivaram Krishnan kept mum about the outcome of their visit and only said they were there to verify the rehabilitation process. 

However, some locals took exception to the team’s visit. They asked where the team was when the displaced people were neck-deep in trouble.  

“I am a member of advisory committee for peripheral development. We the members should have information about the visit of the members. But we were kept in dark. It seems the objective behind such teams visiting the area is to gain political mileage,” said Purna Chandra Naik, an affected villager. 

“It would have been better if NCST member Ananta Nayak (ex-Mp of Keonjhar) had visited the spot. We have strongly objected to the visits of such teams without him. We have also objected to the politicization of ST people. Such teams had visited the area several times in the past, but nothing has so far been done for the development of the affected ST people,” rued Naik.