Report by Amarnath Parida; Paradip: | Orissa Diary

A team of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), led by its member Satyabrata Pal visited Dhinkia, Nuagaon, Gadkujanga panchyats on Tuesday to investigate rising incidences of human rights violation in Posco site area.

Firstly, NHRC team visited Polang, Noliashai villages of Gadkujang panchyats where villagers of Polang Narayan Das, Narahari Panda, Prakash Panda, Gopal Das and others have alleged ‘Posco Company pressed one Bhubaneswer based construction agency to acquire nearly hundreds of acres of land outside of the Posco site by throughway price towards aquaculture so we have sold Rs 1.80 lakh per acre in 2009. Meanwhile, these lands have been handed over to the Posco Company which has constructed its rehabilitation colony at Jokerpada of Polang village’- they said.

‘The present valuation of private land in Posco area is Rs 17 lakh while company has been acquired the hundreds of acres of land at the rate of Rs 1.80 to Rs 2 lakh by cheating us so they appealed to NHRC to consider their case sympathetically’. -They added.

The team also interacted with pro and anti Posco activists in Nuagaon where villagers were fire on the activities of one Posco senior officer Mr. S.N.Singh and IDCO, general manager Mr. Sangram Mohapatra who are creating divide and rule policy in Posco area causing hurdles in Posco project.

Non –fulfillment of their six chatters of demands including compensation to 2008 betel vine growers, employment, to provide contract work to local people, to measure the betel vine from ‘stay’ to stay’, to hike percentage of the total compensation the vine owners to labourers from 20 to 30 percent have not yet fulfilled so villagers vowed to protest if their demands are not being fulfilled- said president of United Action Committee, a pro Posco outfit, Mr. Anadi Rout.

“After the betel vines were demolished, we are left with no work. Delay in payment of maintenance allowance Rs 2250 has made our lives miserable. I do not know if I will figure in the list of compensation receivers,” Nrusingh Behera ,  a labourer from Noliasahi village, said.

The labourers complained that while the owners were compensated following demolition of betel vines, they are now without a livelihood option. Though the betel vine workers are eligible for 20 per cent of the total compensation paid to the vine owners along with maintenance allowance of Rs. 2,250 per month for a year or till engaged in the company, they are yet to get the benefits, the labourers alleged.

After hearing grievances, HRHC member Mr. Pal said ‘team has realized the gross negligence to these villagers so we will present these grievances near the state government for its approval and also asked IDCO GM Mr. Mohapatra ‘what is the stand of Posco company and state government towards the plight of Posco affected villagers’.- he queried.

Mr. Mohapatra clarified ‘we are trying at our level best to solve the different issues of these villagers because we have respect to their demands. If their six charters of demands would be fulfilled, can these villagers leave their forest land or stop agitation against Posco project’- he asked.

The team also inquired about allegations of forcible demolition of betel vines in Gobindpur. Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti also submitted a memorandum to NHRC alleging use of hired goons by the State Government to expedite the construction work of coastal road killing one person and injuring 25 persons despite protests from the villagers. The recent clash between villagers of Dhinkia and workers engaged by Posco featured in the discussion.

PPSS leader Mr. Abhya Sahu said ‘we are demonstrating agitation against Posco project in democratic manner while government and Posco officials are violating human right act in Posco area by terrorizing or arresting our leader cum ex.MLA in false case. He added.  Special Land Accusation Officer Nrusingh Swain accompanied the NHRC team.

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