Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: District Legal Service Authority(DLSA) under the aegis of District Court of Rayagada has facilitated a process of ensuring rights and entitlements of tribals to be accessed from government under one roof by organising a mega legal aid camp at GCD High school ground. Departments like ITDA, DRDA, District labour office, health, education, agriculture, horticulture, watershed, etc took part and provided assistance to the eligible tribals on the spot. More than the assistance, they were made to understand that the benefits availed by them were their rights from the welfare state who framed several schemes through enactment of several laws having constitutional mandate. This is first of its kind in the entire state and second in national level promoted by State Legal Services Authority(SLSA) and National Legal Service Authority(NLSA).
The event was presided over by District Judge-cum-Chairman, DLSA Sri Biswajit Das who emphasized on fundamental rights enshrined in Indian constitution. Rayagada district comes under Sechdule-V, dominated by tribals, population wise and therefore, is entitled to certain special benefits due to its proximity to poverty indicators. “Nobody is above law. If the bureaucracy works hand in hand with the legislative, executive and judiciary, there will be a sea change in governance. And Rayagada’s administration has shown the way by carrying out the legislations of the state and been able to operate in convergence mode by bringing the concerned departments together under one roof and ensuring the rights and entitlements of the poor tribals thus paving the way for their empowerment”, said Sri Das.
Mrs Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar, IAS, Collector-cum-District Magistrate, Rayagada, Guest of Honour in this occasion, applauded the pro-poor roles taken up by DLSA, Rayagada by becoming a motivating factor for the entire district administration. “There are several pro-people acts specifically benefiting tribals are Forest Rights Act(FRA), Prevention of Atrocities Act, Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas Act(PESA), OSATIP, etc. Other acts like MGNREGA, Bonded Labour Abolition Act, Right to Education Act, RTI Act are also very powerful instruments for empowering the downtrodden including tribals’, said Mrs Guha.
Sri Balakrushna Mahapatra, Member-Secretary, SLSA joining as Chief Guest, emphasized by saying that the growth of the country was possible if the development of the indigenous tribe’s integrated development took place. The administrations prime responsibility was to make the schemes and basic facilities accessible to the tribals. The tribals must make themselves aware through this camp and express their issues without fear before the govt officials, said Mr Mahapatra. Sri Pratap Das, Director Panchayati Raj vividly explained various schemes meant for tribals and PVTGs.
Other guests namely Md M I Nabi, CJM, Sri Raul PR, SP, Sri Madhusudan Mishra, PD, DRDA, Sri Murali Swain, PA, ITDA, Sri Prabir Kumar Nayak, Sub-Collector, Sri Y Jagannath Rao, ASP were present on the dais. Sri Hrushikesh Sahu, Secretary, DLSA gave vote of thanks.