Volunteering to Help Resettle Families: A Young Man Supports Displaced
Twenty-six-year-old Chakradhar Patra from Mayurbhani in Orissa supports people who have been displaced from their villages due to development projects such as dams, new upcoming industries and railways.
Chakradhar Patra from Mayurbhani Twenty-six-year-old Chakradhar Patra from Orissa’s Mayurbhanj is a very active young man. Having studied up to Intermediate level, he is aspiring to help people in Orissa who were displaced from their villages to rebuild their lives elsewhere in the area. Chakradhar along with his family was displaced, when his ancestral land was acquired for the Subarnarekha Irrigation Project in Mayurbhanj district. The family received rehabilitation assistance according to the Orissa Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Policy, a policy that was initiated by UNDP and enforced in 2006. His family opted for self-resettlement, i.e. they choose to accept the rehabilitation assistance and built their own house as opposed to the option where displaced have the houses built for them. They rebuilt in Sampura village, an area close to his old village.
- Initiated the Orissa Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Policy that provides rehabilitation assistances to families
- Capacity building training for community volunteers, members of Panchayati Raj Institutions or local self-government, and NGOs in collaboration with Government of Orissa
- Awareness programmes enhance stakeholders’ knowledge on land acquisition and the resettlement and rehabilitation process
Having been uprooted and resettled himself, Chakradhar is acutely aware of the angst and insecurities surrounding the lives of people who have been displaced by development projects such as dams, industries and railways. But he was unsure as to where and how to address the concerns of displaced people.
When UNDP and the Government of Orissa organised an R&R Capacity Building Training for Community Volunteers in Mayurbhanj district, it turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Chakradhar to voice his concerns. The training, which is part of the “Capacity Development to Operationalise Orissa R&R Policy 2006,” aims to build the capacity of various stakeholders including community volunteers, Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) and non-governmental organisation (NGO) members.
“The training programme provided a platform for people like me to interact with officials, political representatives and experts for the first time,” says Chakradhar. “This, along with several village level meetings, also enhanced my knowledge on land acquisition and the resettlement and rehabilitation process.”
Armed with this knowledge, Chakradhar and his fellow community volunteers now want to spread awareness about the benefits and entitlements of the R&R Policy to other affected people.
He now has become a volunteer in the true sense and guides displaced families in different ways. He helps them for example in processing papers, shifting to new location, purchasing new materials, making bank transactions and gives them supports when they are in the process of building new houses. “Along with the officials, I am also motivating displaced people in my area to use compensation amount and resettlement assistance judiciously,” he explains proudly.
Through his activities Chakradhar has become an important support for the district officials. He helps them to better communicate with the displaced families.
But he also has some dreams of his own: He wants to start a manufacturing and processing unit in the district and is hopeful that the upcoming specialised training on livelihood under the UNDP-Government of Orissa R&R project would help him fulfill this aspiration.