NHRC’s swift intervention ensures voting by some SC labourers in Odisha today

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission, in a swift move, ensured that the Government of Odisha provided police protection to some Scheduled Caste rescued bonded laboureres, to cast their vote at village Birakesharipur, PS Gadishangooda, District Puri today, the 17th April, 2014. They were ousted from their village and were living elsewhere on footpaths while fighting for their right to live in their village.

The Commission registered the case on a complaint received yesterday on the 16th April, 2014 that one Maguni Sethi and two other bonded labour families were ousted from their house since long. They wanted to exercise their right to vote but were not feeling safe to go to the electoral booth in the village.

The Commission took up the matter expeditiously with the Special Secretary (Home) and Superintendent of Police, Puri to ensure that they got police protection to cast their vote. The complainant, Shri Baghambar Pattnaik, also a Member of the NHRC’s Core Group of NGOs, has confirmed that the labourers had cast their vote in police protection.

NHRC notice to the Delhi Government and Police Commissioner over fire in an old age home

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that two persons were killed in a fire which broke out in an Old Age Shelter Home in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi in the intervening night of 3rd and 4th April, 2014. The dead included 60 year old Ramesh Chand and 27 year old Poonam, a dumb woman who was given this name by the Earth Savior Foundation, an NGO, which was running this Old Age Shelter Home in make shift tents.
The Home primarily houses mentally disabled persons, senior citizens and those left by their children. At the time of incident, there were about 150 inmates in the 10 make shift tents. Most of them were rescued but a few of them were still missing as it was suspected that they would have ran away after the incident.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, amount to serious violation of human rights of the victims. It has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi and Delhi Police Commissioner calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

Deploy speed boats in Puri beach, NHRC tells Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha government to acquire and deploy, without delay, speed boats/ water scooters at the Puri sea beach to rescue people not within the reach of the life guards deployed.

The NHRC’s directive to the Odisha government came in response to a petition filed by human rights activist Akhand in January last year in which he had alleged that the Puri beach had become a killing field for the tourists coming here to enjoy a bath or swim in the sea with the state government doing precious little to prevent such deaths which can be easily avoided.
In his petition, the activist had alleged that the world famous Puri sea beach was unfit for bathing because of the high tides in the sea here. In the last five years, over a 100 tourists had lost their lives while bathing in the sea but the government had done nothing to prevent such deaths. He said 18 tourists had drowned in 2012, 16 in 2011, 14 in 2010, 21 in 2009 and 17 in 2008 while bathing at the Puri beach.

The apex rights body had then asked the chief secretary to inform it of the steps it had taken to prevent such deaths within four weeks. While admitting that the sea at Puri was not suitable for bathing because of the high tides, the Puri collector, SP and additional secretary Home department, in their reports to the Commission, had said that a helpline for tourists had been set up, 123 home guards from the local ‘Nolia’ community deployed, three police assistance centres, five watch towers and 30 signboards in different languages put up on the beach.

This apart, the government had also taken steps like provision of free life jackets by voluntary agencies, arrangement for police patrolling, airing of awareness advertisements in television channels, availability of funds for tourists in times of emergency, training of tourist police etc, said the officials in their reply.

Basing on the arguments of the rights activist that these steps were not being properly implemented, the Commission directed the government to ensure the strict implementation of the steps mentioned by it. It further directed that speed boats / water scooters be acquired to rescue the people out of the reach of the life guards deployed without delay.
(Courtesy : http://odishasuntimes.com )

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Violation of SC guidelines on sterilization: NHRC notice to Odisha Health dept

Bhubaneswar : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Odisha government. within six weeks, for alleged violation of guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for Health department officials while conducting sterilization (family planning operation) on women in camps organized for such surgeries.

The Supreme Court guidelines clearly state that a single surgeon can conduct a maximum of 50 family planning operations on women in a single camp.

Government doctors have been repeating the same mistake causing immense sufferings and health problems to women undergoing
sterilization despitethe NHRC issuing strictures and seeking reports on irregularities in family planning operation camps.

Human rights activist Akhand through a petition, drew the attention of the apex rights body to an incident on March 23 this year alleging 90 women were operated upon at the Jaleswar Primary Health Centre by a single doctor in a single day in a family planning operation camp.

The surgeon, who arrived at the PHC around noon had kept women waiting for four to five hours, said the rights activist in his petition. He further alleged in that in the absence of beds and rooms at the PHC, women on whom operations were conducted were seen lying on the floor of the PHC and the ground adjacent to it in semi-conscious state.

Admitting the petition and citing clear violation of human rights, the Commission has served a notice to the principal secretary Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha to file a report within six weeks.

It may be noted that four such cases filed by Akhand are sub-judice in the Commission.

Courtesy : Odisha Sun Times Bureau

NHRC rejects Southco contention, reiterates order to pay Rs 3 lakh to electrocution victim

Bhubaneswar : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has rejected the appeal of Southco to close a case pertaining to payment of compensation to the next of kin of an electrocution victim in Krushnaprasad area of Odisha’s Puri district on the ground that the Commission’s award has been challenged by the company in the Odisha High Court and the case was subjudice.

The NHRC has once again directed Southco to comply with its earlier order and pay the compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the victim’s kin within four weeks with proof of compliance. The Commission rejected Southco’s appeal contending that its order had not been stayed by the High Court.

It may be recalled here that on November 2, 2012 one Sanjulata Tarai (30) of Paral village under Krushnaprasad block in Puri district had died of electrocution after coming in contact with a snapped 11 KV live wire.

Human Rights activist Akhand had then filed a petition with the NHRC alleging that Sanjulata’s death was caused due to Southco’s negligence and faulty maintenance of electric transmission lines.

The Brahmapur headquartered Southco, in its report to the apex rights body, had contended that since the transmission, distribution and maintenance of the concerned area lied with Enzen Global Solutions as per contract, it was that latter that was liable for any accident or casualty. Therefore if any compensation is required to be paid, Enzen is liable for making such payments, Southco had contended.

However, the Commission had rejected Southco’s contention citing a Supreme Court judgment and directed that since the woman had died because of the negligence of the power distribution agency/company, the principal power distribution company is liable to pay the compensation.

The NHRC had in November, 2013 directed Southco to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the family members of deceased Sanjulata within four weeks.

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