NHRC's effort for Rehabilitation and Resettlement of projectaffected displaced tribals of Mysore yields satisfactory result

New Delhi, 3 February 2006
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed satisfaction on the action and steps taken by the State Government of Karnataka for rehabilitation of hundreds of tribal families living in and around N. Begur in H.D. Kote Taluk of Mysore District. The families had been affected by the construction of the Kabini Reservoir in early 1970's and Bandipur Project Tiger National Park in 1973-74.
The NHRC had started looking into the matter after Dr. Balasubramaniam, Project Director and Shri Mohan, President, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, Mysore drew attention of the Commission to the plight of the tribals in their petition dated 22 January 1998 and 20 March 1998.
During the personal hearing given to them by the NHRC, the petitioners apprised the Commission on the background of the cases and what, in their view, constituted an utter apathy of the administration to the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement of the tribals uprooted from their century-old habitation as a result of the construction of the Kabini Reservoir and the Bandipur Tiger National Park projects during the early 1970's. They also indicated in their submissions of the growing impatience and unrest of the tribal community arising out of their continued suppression, neglect and denial of their basic rights. The Commission sought reports from the State Government. It also directed its Special Rapporteur, Shri Chaman Lal to visit the site for ascertaining the ground realities and submit a report. Reports were received both from the State Government as well as from the Special Rapporteur. On consideration of the reports of the Special Rapporteur as well as those from various officials of the State Government, the Commission on 4 August 1998 recommended that :-
i) The Administration should act promptly to restore to the tribals their land following favourable verdict of the Court in the SPT/PTCL Act cases (Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands Act, 1978). The Commission is informed that there are three such cases demanding urgent attention of the Deputy Commissioner, Mysore.
ii) The Forest Department may issue suitable instructions to their field staff to give preference to the tribals affected by the Kabini and Bandipur National Park Projects in the matter of providing jobs on daily-wages. Compliance of these instructions may be monitored at a very senior level to ensure their intended purpose.
iii) Considering the acute shortage of teachers in the schools meant for tribal students and the reported reluctance of outsiders to work in tribal areas, the Government may consider selecting a few boys and girls of the tribal community who have passed SSLC and put them to TCH Course (Teacher's Course Higher Certificate). They may be posted to the schools in the tribal areas after successful completion of the Course.
A compliance report was received from the Chief Secretary, Karnataka and was considered by the Commission. The Special Rapporteur on the directions of the Commission, reviewed the implementation of the Commission's recommendations of 4 August 2004 in a meeting with the Dy. Commissioner, Mysore and officials of the Forest Department, and also followed it up by holding a meeting with the Chief Secretary at Bangalore on 27 March 1999. The Special Rapporteur reported to the NHRC :-

Rehabilitation and Resettlement of the Tribals affected by the construction of Kabini Reservoir

4855 acres of land including survey Nos.45, 46 and 47 of N. Begur have not been surveyed yet. This survey was to be completed by the end of June 1999. The details of only 2600 acres have been provided and the details of the balance 2255 acres are yet to be furnished by the Administration. The joint survey is still to be undertaken. The progress is found to be very slow.

The Commission's direction regarding the allotment of land to 7 specific families of Jaggonakote is still pending implementation. It is learnt from the letter of Dr. Balasubramaniam that these families were offered a compensation at the rate of Rs.12,500 per acre, quoting a previous ruling of the High Court pertaining to acquisition of land on the left bank of Kabini which is not applicable to their case. The petitioner has stated that the case belongs to the category of the case of Mr. Mohd. Pir and Mr.U.Rehman Sharif of Moorbandh, whose land has been restored by the High Court's order. The complainant has informed the Government through the Divisional Commissioner about this. In this matter, the Commission requests the Government of Karnataka to examine afresh the case of these 7 families and expedite action on the recommendations of the Commission.

Rehabilitation and resettlement of tribals affected by the formation of Bandipur Project Tiger National Park.

The statutory exercise for determining the rights of the affected people as laid down u/s 19-26 of the Wild Life Preservation Act, 1972 has been reported to have been started and the hearing of the objections is progressing to the satisfaction of the petitioner.

The Commission's recommendation regarding allotment of 300 acre of revenue land identified at AINAPURA, which is the key recommendation, has not yet been implemented. The Chief Secretary's report stated that the proposal for rehabilitation of tribals is receiving attention. The Government of Karnataka is requested to expedite their decision considering the plight of the uprooted tribals who have been denied even the ordinary rights of collecting the minor forest produce. This move is considered all the more necessary in view of some disturbing reports of forcible encroachment of forestland by the evicted tribals coming from this area. Any more delay in addressing the justified grievances of the tribals affected by the development projects will only intensify their anger, which may turn them violent.

Alleged harassment of the tribals by the officials of the Police and Forest Department.

The Government of Karnataka has accepted the recommendations and has withdrawn the case filed against the tribals. It is reported that action against the DSP concerned is in progress.
The Commission felt that in view of the long pendency of this matter and the nature of controversy, which appears to emerge despite the efforts appearing to have been made by the Government of Karnataka to comply with the recommendation of the Commission, it would be appropriate that the process of rehabilitation is monitored by a Committee. The Committee would comprise of representatives of the Government of Karnataka, one representative of the Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, the petitioner, one representative of the Tribals to be nominated by the petitioner and the Special Rapporteur, Shri Chaman Lal who would represent the National Human Rights Commission.
Following this, the Commission kept monitoring the case and sought reports periodically.
On 20 June 2005, the Commission directed the Deputy Commissioner, Mysore to furnish an up-to-date status report relating to the resettlement of the 154 displaced tribal families. In response, the Dy. Commissioner, Mysore furnished the requisite status report vide communication dated 5.9.2005. The status report furnished by the Dy. Commissioner, Mysore inter alia records:-

i. Grant of Certificates of agricultural land, Residential plots and beneficiaries Identity cards to all 154 displaced tribals have been issued on 16.8.2005.
ii. As resolved in the sub committee meeting held on 25.4.2005, 42 ineligible and deceased beneficiaries have been deleted from the list and accorded approval, for the eligible beneficiaries list in place of them identified by the sub-committee headed by the Assistant Commissioner, Hunsur.
iii. As resolved in the main committee meeting held on 9.6.2005 for formation of two residential layouts, according to their tradition and culture, action has been taken for formation of two layouts, one for 82 and another for 72 families.
iv. An amount of Rs.11.80 lakhs has been deposited with the Assistant Executive Engineer, Chamundeswari Electrical Supply Company, H.D. Kote for electrification works in both the residential layouts, and the Company has agreed to complete the electrification work, within two months (end of October 2005).
v. The Zilla Panchayat, Mysore has prepared an Action Plan under Zilla Panchayat grants (State fund) for drinking water supply scheme, at a cost of Rs.10.70 lakhs and action is being taken to implement the scheme early by the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Panchayat, Mysore.

vi. The construction works of 154 houses for the displaced tribals have been started from 16.8.2005. The Nirmithi Kendra, which is the implementing agency for the above work has been instructed to complete the work within 3 months.

The representation received from the sub committee, for providing basic amenities, infrastructural facilities to the rehabilitation colonies and to start the agricultural activities, the issue was discussed in the District Level Officers meeting held on 20.8.2005, and instructions have been issued to Concerned District Level Officers to submit an Action Plan to provide the following basic amenities to the beneficiaries immediately.

I. Starting of Schools.
II. Health centre.
III. Post Office.
IV. Bus shelter.
V. Telephone Exchange.
VI. Anganvadi centres
VII. Formation of Sthree Shakti groups.
VIII. Providing agricultural benefits and seeds.
IX. Providing Raw materials to start the village and cottage industries etc."

The report was forwarded to the Commission's Special Rapporteur Shri Chamal Lal, Special Rapporteur who was also a member of the Rehabilitation Committee for examination and comments.
After examining the response received from the State Government vide communication dated 5.9.2005 and the comments of Shri Chaman Lal, Special Rapporteur, the Commission expressed that there has been a happy outcome of the NHRC's intervention. It took on record the report dated 5 September 2005 of the Deputy Commissioner, Mysore and closed the case on 23 January 2006.