NHRC for package to locals displaced by land acquisitions

"The government in the name of development do so much of violation of human rights. To some extent, it is correct to say that tribals are displaced and they are not given adequate employment opportunities. That is why some people want to abolish this land acquisition (law)," NHRC chairman Justice K G Balakrishnan told PTI in an interview here.

Balakrishnan observed that tribals are affected by the acquisition of their land as they depend on them for their livelihood. "Whenever some 1000 acres or 4000 acres of land are acquired, there should be a package for giving employment and other benefits to the displaced," he said.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement in this context, Justice Balakrishnan, without taking the name of the parties involved in the case, said the apex Court granted permission for bauxite mining while directing that at least 50-55 per cent employees should be tribals in the project.

"It (Supreme Court) also said that there should be schools, healthcare and all the other facilities be provided by the persons who indulge in mining," he added. Asked on reports that certain NGOs and right activists were raising the voice in sympathy with left-wing extremists, Balakrishnan said "no importance is given by the state governments" to those displaced by the development projects and "that is why so many people are pleading not for extremists, but the tribals rights."

Many NGOs are working to help the NHRC in its mission apart from various State Human Rights Commissions, he said. When asked whether NHRC has any role to play to protect tribals' rights amid such circumstances, he said, "yes, NHRC has its role. We do consider complaints and take suitable actions."

To whatever extent possible, NHRC will try to solve the problems and give suggestions to the authorities concerned for a smooth and good governance in the country, he said. Balakrishnan noted that there are many challenges before the Commission. "There are a lot of problems in the society because of India being a vast country with large number of people with different ethnicity, different stratification."

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