MAC: Mines and Communities

Undp, Dfid To Help Orissa Settle Tribals

Published by MAC on 2007-01-19
Source: Unknown

UNDP, DFID to help Orissa settle tribals

BS Reporter / Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar

19th January 2007

Unable to tide over the spate of agitations that is still rocking the state, the Orissa government has roped in the services of United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and Department For International Development (DFID) of the UK government for the smooth implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy in the state.

UNDP and DFID, which had helped the government in formulation of the policy in April 2006, will lend their support to the government in its implementation basically in four areas.

These were awareness generation, building institutional framework like state R&R advisory committee and directorate, capacity building and exposure including training of field personnel and preparation of a comprehensive operational manual.

Orissa is shortly coming out with a comprehensive operational handbook on R&R policy for persons displaced from farm and homestead lands taken away for industrial purposes.

The operational handbook could act as a model for other states, especially neighbouring West Bengal where R&R policy has taken a major jolt on efforts by that government to take over farm lands for industrial purposes at Nandigram and Singur.

Unlike the Orissa government the West Bengal government is yet to formulate a comprehensive R&R policy and is mostly relying on administrative orders for the acquiring of farmlands doling out compensations to the displaced.

Orissa, however, is still dogged by warring tribals of Kalinganagar who are yet to give up their lands for the Tata*s steel plant and are blocking the Daitari-Paradip Expressway (NH 200) for the past one year.

Only recently the government is trying to make some headways in breaking the deadlock following the High Court order in this regard. The operational handbook will act as a guide to the R&R policy and it is being prepared by the government in collaboration with the UNDP and DFID.

The operational handbook is likely to be followed up by legislations for R&R on lines already formulated and adopted by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka governments.

Orissa government plans to follow the rehabilitation model of the Karnataka government in setting up of the Upper Krishna Irrigation Project and a similar one at Uttarkashi.

The Upper Krishna Project had witnessed a calm and tame rehabilitation of around 400,000 people. The Uttarkashi project of the Uttaranchal government has also witnessed rehabilitation of about 100,000 people.

Apart from working out a Operational Handbook as part of R&R policy , the UN body is also suggesting the setting up of an independent monitoring committee of experts by the government to look into R&R developments every six months.

Though Orissa is currently having a full-fledged R&R policy certain ends still need to tightened with the government yet to set up a state council on R&R and a directorate.

Moreover, there are also loopholes in setting up R&R centres at the district and panchayat [village group] levels. Orissa had adopted the R&R policy in April 2006.

Committees like the rehabilitation and periphery development advisory committee (RPDAC) had been formed.

Recently another state level committee supplementing RPDAC was set up by the government. The operational handbooks will focus basically on areas like Gopalpur, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Paradip, Kalinganagar where prospective investors are making a beeline.

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