NHRC to Odisha Govt : Rehabilitate seven tribal families languihing in Police training Camp

By Prafulla Kumar Das in Bhubaneswar :

The National Human Rights Commission has directed Government of Odisha to rehabilitate seven tribal families living a very difficult life in Special Operation Group(SOG) Camp in Chandaka near Bhubaneswar. Acting on a complaint of Human Rights Activist Akhand, the commission has asked to the Chief secretary to act within eight weeks.
Last year December, Akhand alleged before the commission that seven tribal families in the premises of SOG of Odisha police at
Tulasideipur training camp, are facing many restriction due to security measures. The state Government had set up the SOG in 2004 and allotted 62 acres land at Tulasideipur village for their training. At the time of land accusation, house of the seven tribal families remains in the limits of the said camp.
Due to strict twenty-four hour security arrangement in the camp, the family members are not free to go outside for their works. Especially in the evening onwards the movement from their home is not possible, said Akhand.
The Commission had taken cognizance and directed to issue a notice to the state authority, calling for a report in the matter. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, the IG of Police(Operations) reported the Commission that, the seven families, who were earlier residing within the allotted land, still continue to reside inside the boundary of the SOG. The Khorda District Administration has been moved to shift these families at nearest alternate location, with
rehabilitation facilities, they may be entitled to as per laws and rules. The report concedes the restricted movement of the members of these families because of strict round the clock security arrangements in the campus, due to naxalites menace. However, the report claims that freedom for reasonable movement of these families is not restricted.
The Commission has also sought a comment from the petitioner on the report of authority. The complainant has sent his comments pointing out that admittedly these seven families are living inside the camp and have difficulties in their daily life due to strict security reasons. He has requested for an earlier rehabilitation by the Government.
Having considered the reports, the Commission notes that “the seven families should be rehabilitated as soon as possible because they are facing difficulties since long. From report of the IG(Operations), it appears that the District Administration was intimated as early as in the year, 2011, but no action has been taken so far.”
“The State Government should take prompt necessary action in this regard. Let the Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha be asked to look into the matter and send within eight weeks a report on rehabilitation of the seven families residing in the premises of the SOG at Tulasideipur near Bhubaneshwar”, said the commission in his order.

NHRC sought report from Indian Govt. on the Pentavalent Vaccine

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has sought a report from Union Health Ministry over ‘controversial’ Pentavalent Vaccine. The apex rights body has directed the Secretary of Health Ministry and Department of Health research to reply in the matter within four weeks.

The directives of the commission has came in response to the complaint filed by the Odisha based Human Rights Activist Akhand.

Since 2011, the Indian Union Government introduced pentavalent vaccine in a phased manner in Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi. Recently, the Union Government decided to scale-up administration of the pentavalent vaccine throughout the country from this October.
Pentavalent is a combination of five vaccines in one: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type b (the bacteria that causes meningitis and pneumonia). The vaccine created a furore after many infants from across the country were reported to have died after the vaccination. The latest RTI reply by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has revealed that the Pentavalent vaccine has been associated with 76 deaths and 227 hospitalizations.

Another disturbing factor is that many children (around 300 as per figures obtained) have also been hospitalized in a serious condition after being administered this vaccine. No one is transparent about the adverse events that have led to the hospitalizations. The components of this vaccine – the DPT, Hep-B, Hib, etc – are highly controversial for adverse events individually and the combination is proving deadly.

Akhand alleged that in India, it is health workers and not doctors who give this vaccine, no screening of children can be done leading to unnecessary deaths. Facts are also not forthcoming as to what are the adverse effects noted in the children who have been hospitalized. He has sought it to be made mandatory for all deaths and adverse effects to be reported by doctors and health authorities. The vaccine should be withdrawn till all facts are examined and the vaccine is proved safe.

Controversy over Pentavalent :

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) recommended the introduction of the Pentavalent vaccine into the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) in India in the year 2010. This was questioned by two eminent members of the NTAGI who pointed out that the vaccine, which is a combination vaccine for DPT, Hep-B and Hib, was being pushed despite controversies. The rates of Hib in India did not warrant a vaccine and the fact that the Pentavalent vaccine has caused deaths in all countries where it has been introduced was ignored. They also pointed out that the vaccine was ineffective. They filed a PIL in the Supreme Court to this effect.

Initially the vaccine was launched in two states of the country and reports of deaths from the vaccine soon surfaced. This prompted another PIL in the Supreme Court by Dr Yogesh Jain who insisted that the vaccine should be banned in India as it has caused deaths also in neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Pakistan and in Vietnam. The vaccine is already banned in US, Japan, Canada, Europe, Australia, UK and some other developed nations who reacted to cases of deaths and adverse reactions. The Supreme Court issued a notice to the centre and the manufacturer of the vaccine in India in 2013.

However despite these controversies the Government of India has gone ahead and introduced this vaccine into six more states leading to an increase in the number of deaths and adverse effects reported. In response to an RTI filed, the Government has admitted to 76 deaths associated with the vaccine and 227 adverse effects requiring hospitalization as on 19th August 2014. Since then two more deaths have been reported in the press. The Government is denying the deaths, except for two cases, but cannot furnish an alternative reason for the deaths! It is therefore highly surprising that instead of banning the vaccine the Government has declared that the vaccine will be introduced in all states during October 2014. According to doctors in India this vaccine will kill 1 in every 10,000 children vaccinated.

NHRC orders Railways to ensure the food quality in parliament canteen

By Prafulla Das in Bhubaneswar :

The National Human Rights Commission has directed the Ministry of Railways to take appropriate steps to ensure the quality of food served in parliament canteen in New Delhi.

The Commission’s directive has came in response to a complaint filed by the Odisha based Human rights activist Akhand.

Akhand had alleged before the commission in last August that “Catering services of Member of Parliament(MP)s’ Canteen at South Block, North Avenue and at Rail Bhavan at New Delhi are not of good quality. Many MPs were falling sick after consuming food from Parliament canteen. Samajbadi Party members Ram Gopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan were among them.”

Many parliament members had alleged in Rajya Sabha on 30 July that the food quality are very bad. Even, Food cooked at 6 am is served till late night which was causing the problem.
Here it is noted that catering services of MPs’ Canteen at South Block, North Avenue and at Rail Bhavan are managed by Northern Railways since 1968. Besides, the regular fare provided to high dignitaries, media representatives and senior bureaucrats of Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha secretariat. Catering services are supervised by a Joint Committee o¬n Food Management consisting of 15 Honble Members of Parliament from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively.
Praying for intervention of NHRC, Akhand argued that “Food served to the law makers are not of good qualities. Its negligence on part of Railway as it fails to provide the good quality food.”
Disposing the petition, the NHRC has directed Chairman of Railway Board “to take appropriate action within eight weeks and to inform the complaint of the action taken in the matter.”

E-learning in Odisha schools soon

Bhubaneswar, Sept 16: The state government has geared up to make e-learning an integral part of high school curriculum under the e-Vidyalaya programme, which was launched by chief minister Naveen Patnaik in February just before the last general elections.

At a recent meeting chaired by development commissioner A P Padhi, it was decided that information and communication technology (ICT) laboratories in 4,000 government-run and aided schools, which have been included for ICT@school scheme in the first phase, will be ready by September 30. These schools have to make ICT lab as part of their academic calendars and time tables, a senior government officer said.

The school and mass education department will identify schools that don’t have enough space for ICT lab so that construction would be taken up on priority under Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the central sponsored scheme for secondary education. Power and broadband internet connection would be ensured to these schools with the help of energy department and BSNL.

A teacher from each high school, preferably from science or
mathematics background, will be identified and trained to man the ICT lab equipped with high-end integrated computer, projector, interactive board and audio-visual facilities. The government would work out on a suitable incentive structure for such teachers so that a sense of ownership comes to the teacher concerned. E-content prepared by Odisha Knowledge Corporation Limited (OKCL) has prepared e-content for Class VIII and IX students, which will be used in these labs.

Odisha CM Confers Kalinga Samman to Dr H. P. Mishra, felicitates Prof. Li

Bhubaneswar : Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today felicitated eminent scientist and UNESCO Kalinga Prize winner for the year 2013 at a function at Institute of Physics organized by Kalinga Foundation Trust. He also conferred Kalinga Samman Award to Dr. Hara Prasanna Mishra, an eminent scientist and technocrat, for popularization of Science in Odisha.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said, “I am delighted to be here today amongst all of you to felicitate Prof. Xiangyi Li, the UNESCO Kalinga Prize Winner for popularisation of science for the year -2013, and presentation of “Kalinga Samman-2013″.

In the year 1951, under the banner of Kalinga Foundation Trust, Biju Babu laid the foundation stone through UNESCO, Paris and instituted Kalinga Prize for Popularisation of Science. You will be glad to know that till now, 67 eminent scientists & science popularizers have received this coveted award from 24 Countries of the World, informed CM.

It is a matter of great pride for all of us that since the Year 2010, Kalinga Foundation Trust, Bhubaneswar has been presenting Kalinga Samman for ‘Popularization of Science Amongst the Common Man’ to leading scientific & technological persons of the state who have contributed immensely for the growth of science & technology & popularization of science in Odisha. I am glad to confer Kalinga Samman-2013 to eminent metallurgist Dr. Hara Prasanna Mishra for popularization of science on Odisha. So far, five outstanding personalities of the State have been awarded with this distinction, including Dr. Hara Prasanna Mishra. This award is considered as the highest award in the State for popularization of science. I take the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Mishra.

Prof. Xyangyi Li, in his address, recalled the great civilizations of ancient India and China. He said that scientific spirit is the only way forward to future.

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