OSSA - Kandhamal violence: Issues in reconciliation, reconstruction, rehabilitation before the onset of moonson
An important meeting of OSSA was called upon to review the current situation in Kandhamal and discuss regarding certain fundamental issues with regard to the core principles, criteria for membership, structural, functional and financial guidelines of OSSA. That apart some other important decision regarding problems at coordination office at Kandhamal, Packaging of Gandhi Katha audio and video, long term planning, future challenges etc were also discussed. The following are the key points in terms of discussion held and decision taken
Kandhamal violence: Issues in reconciliation, reconstruction, rehabilitation before the onset of moonson.
Dr. Bhagbanprakash appraised the silent effort that OSSA made in the reconciliation process before election amongest the major stake holder from both the community in the Kandhamal violence, which could not be carried to its logical conclusion as the election was round the corner. So he stressed the need for initiating the process again both at the Bhubaneswar and Kandhamal level.
Senior worker from Kandhamal opined that the progress in reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation till date is moving at snail pace and may be to the extent of only a meager 10% has been achieved. The moonson is round the corner and it does not seem that anything substantial could be done as building materials are scarce and the price being very high. That apart the scale in which such material are required can not be realistically supplied by the administration and the work be completed before the monsoon starts. So alternatives in this regard must be explored before the situation become worse.
No comprehensive damage assessment has been made by the administration with regard to the degree of damage and taking all such other factors affecting the livelihood of the affected people. The administration has yet to come out with a complete report as to the status of total number of affected, displaced, migrated and resettled people in the violence. It was also discussed that the govt. has not yet fulfilled the land grant promise and yet to appeal people ensuring complete assurance of safty, security and resettlement.
The issue of assistance of Rs 10,000 by govt. towards reconstruction process is making no headway as people are spending the same in trivial affairs and therefore the reconstruction process can't move forward as per the conditionalits of the govt which has been time and again appraised to administration by civil society organization. There is need for alternative strategy and planning in this regard. However it was also shared that different funding agencies are making provision for support to the cause of reconstruction which may reach to the people later, while people are being advised to start their work with the initial govt. support.
Some senior workers also opined that there is severe lack of the civil society initiatives with regard to the scale in which the process of reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation should progress. The severely affected 50 panchyat need urgent attention and immediate civil society interventions.
The gathering also shared the satisfaction over incident free election in Kandhamal and the role of administration in this regard. Some also shared the initiatives taken by the Dist. Collector with regard to the assessment of the displaced population and such other survey at a priority basis.
There were also opinion like calling a meeting of OSSA with the district administration for assessment of the aforesaid issues and pressing for certain immediate measures in this regard.
A detail discussion at length was undertaken as to how to positively use the National Integration Camp of National Youth Project (NYP) through the leadership of Dr. S.N.Subba Rao with 500 volunteers from different part of the country. It was decided that the volunteer group will be used in a constructive fashion to create communal harmony through reconstruction, prayer and peace march etc. it was also informed by the Chairman that the district administration has been requested to provide all such logistics facility for the successful organization of the programme from 20th to 27th may 2009 at Hubak High school. Udyagiri, Kandhamal.
Functional difficulties at Kandhamal coordination office and other such issues among partner organization at Kandhamal
After thorough discussion it was decided that some of the mutual difference will be tried to be resolved mutually in separate sitting and an appeal was made to all the member present to forget the all such confusion generated in the process due to lack of proper communication and work united for the greater cause of peace and harmony. However in case of any eventuality it was also decided that the coordination office at Kandhamal shall be handed over to the district administration.
OSSA, long term challenges and need for OSSA charter:
It is well known fact that the OSSA process had started after the 2008 Kandhamal violence and had certainly been able to carry forward the civil society initiatives towards restoration of peace and harmony in Kandhamal. However it was also envisaged that the forum would work towards long term peace objectives wherever it is required through out Odisha. After the successful organization of ANTARANGA and GANDHI KATHA the forum has definitely crossed certain milestones. Now the challenge is how to prepare for the restoration of peace and harmony in a supposed to be general condition of breach of peace like the Maoist violence or Industrial violence etc. There is a strong need for convergence of opinion in this regard as expressed by the members.
Secondly there is also a strong need for a comprehensive OSSA charter addressing fundamental issues like core principles, criteria for membership, structural, functional and financial guidelines etc to avoid any confusion and ambiguity in the long term process if the OSSA process has to function as a credible civil society platform. In this regard a six-member core committee was formed keeping in view the seriousness of the matter and the paucity of time for detail discussion and convergence of opinion. The following team volunteered for the task who shall give their detail personal inputs to the convener of the committee and the convener shall compile the commonly agreed principles which shall be presented before the general meeting within a 15 days. All the communication shall be done through official e-mail of OSSA, The body formed for the purpose is follows.
On the issue of an independent office of OSSA it was unanimously agreed that effort would be made to approach the Govt. or Red Cross to facilitate an independent space as a matter of long term policy decision.
Packaging of Gandhi Katha audio and Video
After a detail discussion in accordance with some issues raised by Biren Das (In charge of editing the Katha) and members the following decision were taken.
A complete version of the Katha shall be prepared initially for general circulation and for telecast purpose. Subsequently a limited version would prepared to address need for busy audience. If possible a complete audio version shall be prepared depending upon the quality of recording and demand factor. The responsibility of transcribing and editing the gist of the Katha was suggested to be given to Das Benhur and Asit Mohanty. The marketing aspect of the Katha was left to be decided in a separate meeting.
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