Lack of chairpersons in several commissions in Odisha hits complaint redressal

While the commissions are plagued with vacancies, pending cases are also reportedly on the rise with the Women's Commission having a pendency of 9600 cases, State Food Commission (more than 4000 cases), Human Rights Commission (10000 cases) and State Information Commission (12,000 cases)

Bhubaneswar: Posts of chairperson of important commissions in Odisha like the State Commission for Women, State Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Odisha State Food Commission are vacant. Besides, the Human Rights Commission here has no permanent chairperson.

It is alleged that the State government is intentionally delaying the selection to fill these posts due to vested interests; while on the other hand, people are facing a lot of problems in getting of their grievances redressed.

One Anjali Kara from Koida in Sundergarh district is reportedly running from pillar to post seeking justice. As per reports, after the death of her husband, she used to earn a living for her and her six-year-old daughter by running a tea stall. However, some miscreants allegedly destroyed her stall. Though she approached the local administration with her complaint, no one listened to her woes, she alleged.

Left with no choice, she approached the State Commission for Women with a lot of hope. However, the commission also reportedly failed her. She alleged that no one from the commission is listening to her as the body has no chairperson.

“I have been begging since the last two months. I want justice. They (the miscreants) are repeatedly threatening me and warning that I will be murdered. Even the Tehsildar himself is threatening me,” alleged Anjali.

Another woman, Bishnupriya Mohapatra from Konark, who has been a victim of harassment by her husband, is also disappointed with the women commission’s apathy.

“I am repeatedly getting dates and coming to the Commission but not getting any result. How many times should I come? I don’t even have money to come here so often,” lamented Bishnupriya.

It is pertinent to mention here that the top post in the women’s commission is vacant since the general polls and the commission has presently 9600 pending cases. Though the secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department Anu Garg is presently in-charge of the commission, she is allegedly unable to take up any complaints.

Similarly, more than 4000 cases are pending before the State Food Commission, while 10,000 cases are pending before the Human Rights Commission. A total of 12,000 cases are reportedly pending before the State Information Commission.

“The State government lacks interest in listening to the problems of the people. These commissions have become rehabilitation centres for the ruling-party’s members,” alleged BJP MLA, Jaynarayan Mishra.

Congress MLA Sura Routray said, “Had the ruling-BJD been concerned about the problems of people, there would have been adequate members and chairmen in all the commissions.”

However, BJD MLA Amar Satpaty said that the government is looking into the matter and appointments will be done as per the procedures.