Compensation process for Hirakud Dam oustees begins

Sambalpur: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Saturday began the process of identification and provision of compensation for families affected by the large-scale displacement due to construction of Hirakud dam seven decades ago.

NHRC member Bibhuti Bhusan Mishra today held a discussion with the displaced families at Sambalpur Circuit House and is also scheduled to meet other displaced families in Jharsuguda tomorrow.

“The identifiation process is very difficult as two generation has passed since the displacement. There is no guarantee that the locals were displaced neither the governmental authorities have any proof. There were also instances when people who were not displaced had claimed compensation. So question arises as to how we can redress the injustice which was done a long ago,” Mishra said after meeting the displaced people.

“We had to suffer displacement two times. During the first stage, our father had recieved some compensation with which he had brought a land. Later we lost 5 acres of land when we were displaced from Talabira coal mines area but we are yet to get any additional compensation or resettlement,” said Manabodha Biswal, a local.

Hirakud Dam Budi Anchal Sangram Samiti General Secretary, Gopinath Majhi said, “We have informed the authorities to recognise around 486 familes who have been deprived of land pattas and also urged them to look into those whose land have not been demarcated.”

It may be mentioned here that the NHRC had ordered investigation by its special rapporteur into the large-scale displacement and subsequent failure of the state government in rehabilitation and resettlement of around 26,561 families of 369 villages due to the construction of the dam after allegations of inadequate compensation to the families came to fore.

The NHRC had also directed the State government for a probe into the issue earlier in May this year. In a compliance report to the Commission, government had maintained that steps were taken time to time to mitigate the grievances of the displaced families.