In April 2016, more than 200 families belonging to the Chakma community of several villages under Diyun, Bordumsa and Miao circles in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh were severely affected by two waves of devastating flood caused by the overflowing Noa Dihing river. Dumpani, Jyotipur-II and Udoipur villages were the worst hit by the flood occurred on 12 and 23 April respectively. About half of the total affected families were rendered homeless and suffered extensive damages to settlement areas, agricultural land and other properties.
As temporary measures, the local administration sheltered the displaced villagers to nearby schools. As the schools opened, nearly 100 families, rendered completely landless, were forced to shift to a vacant land. Later, they were evicted without any alternate arrangement of shelter despite the families comprising infants, pregnant and lactating women and aged. With no help in sight from the government, the victims took shelter at a local village club.
As the Chakmas of the three circles live on either side of Noa Dihing river, they remain at risk of displacement every year during the rainy season. Prior to the 2016 flood, hundreds of families were displaced but they received no rehabilitation and compensation.
The 2016 flood victims also received no compensation or rehabilitation to date.
However, the State government in an action taken report (ATR), a copy available with The aPolitical, submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi said that it has provided compensation to the 2016 Chakma flood victims of Diyun circle. But the fact says otherwise as revealed through an analysis of available official information.
Immediately after the floods, a heavy rainfall/cyclonic hailstorm hit Diyun circle on 29 April 2016, which resulted in death of two persons and caused damaged to houses and properties of over 1,000 families.
Following assessment of damages, the state government approved Rs. 40 lakhs for payment of immediate relief to the victims. The victims were paid relief ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,500.
But the state government in its action taken report to the NHRC showed the amount of Rs. 40 lakh meant for cyclone victims as that of compensation paid to the flood victims. As per information, an amount of Rs. 19,98,300/- was disbursed as relief assistance to 1,238 beneficiaries under Diyun Circle.
This information was clearly misleading as no flood victim has been compensated from the amount sanctioned for the cyclone victims.
There were two categories of victims – flood affected and cyclone affected. This has not been made clear by the state government in its submissions before the NHRC.
The question remains – was this deliberate to hoodwinked the rights watchdog?
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