New Delhi [India], March 31 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday directed the chief secretary of the Odisha government to ensure proper implementation of the schemes and guidelines for the descendants of the martyrs and freedom fighters and to ensure the peripheral development of 'Rakta Tirtha Eram' in Bhadrak district of the state, better known as the 'Second Jallianwala Bagh of India'.
The NHRC recently passed the order after expressing serious displeasure against the Odisha government time and again on a six-year pending case filed by human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy.
In 2014, the NHRC had asked the Chief Secretary of Odisha to submit an ATR over the issue.
Later on, the Ministry of Home Affairs had also taken cognisance of an application submitted by Tripathy for ensuring tourist tag to Eram and doing the needful for making 'Eram', a place of national importance. Since then the issue is making rounds in the bureaucratic juggernauts, he said.
Nothing substantial has been done for the protection and promotion of 'Eram', considered as Second Jallianwala Bagh of India, Tripathy said.
On September 28, 1942, at least 28 persons were killed on the spot and 56 injured by the British forces. The plight of the descendants of the martyrs and freedom fighters including Pari Bewa, the first Lady Martyre of Odisha needs special attention of the government, Tripathy contended.
A first of its kind, a centre named as 'Freedom Fighters Interpretation Center' (in India) going to be established at Rakta Tirtha Eram, is under construction and will be completed by December 31 this year, the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) and Bhadrak district administration informed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
So far as the plight of the family members of the martyrs and freedom fighters are concerned, the Block Development Officer (BDO) has been asked to make enquiry and submit a detailed report on each one of the descendants, Tripathy said.
Tripathy also sought Social Welfare Schemes like house with toilets under Awas Yojana, food under NFSA, other benefits to the eligible members of the family of the martyrs and freedom fighters of Rakta Tirtha.
After the NHRC case and petition filed in the union home ministry, the Odisha government decided to open a martyrs gallery in the state museum and also declared Eram, as a state tourist spot in 2015.
Visiting the spot and witnessing the situation recently, Tripathy said that even after 78 years of freedom struggle, 'Rakta Tirtha Eram' continues to be neglected and it never got the historical importance it deserves.
Tripathy raised the issue of protection and promotion of Eram, a renowned place in the Indian freedom struggle and protection of human rights of the freedom fighter's families. He requested a special social welfare scheme for the dependents of the martyrs of Rakta Tirtha.
The report received from the state authorities stating that Rs 50 lakh was sanctioned by the government in the Tourism & Culture Department for the development of 'Rakta Tirtha Pitha' at Eram under Basudevpur Tahasil in the year 2014-15.
The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Bhubaneswar, State Government Agency, was entrusted with the execution of the project work.
Executive engineer, OTDC, Bhubaneswar being the technical head, is looking after the project execution work.
The Commission considered the matter again on October 16, 2020, and directed the District Magistrate, Bhadrak to submit the additional report relating to the families of the Rakta martyrs within four weeks.
Even after five years of the announcement of a tourist place, nothing has been done to develop the place. Pertinent to mention here three years ago Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had sanctioned rupees one crore to develop Eram. However, the money lies unspent, Tripathy claimed. (ANI)