Bhubaneswar, Aug 2
Even as his government is facing the wrath of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) over a series of incidents of atrocity on scheduled castes (SCs) in the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today claimed that his government had taken all possible measures to protect the SC communities and ensure their all-round development.
Chairing the meeting of the Scheduled Castes Welfare Advisory Board at the State Secretariat here, he said the state government was committed to safeguard the rights and entitlements of SC people through strict enforcement of the two Central Acts – Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act of 1955 and the SCs & STs Prevention of Atrocity (PoR) Act of 1989 that are currently in force.
“So far, the government has appointed 593 legal retainers in 298 legal aid cells to provide free legal services to the SC/ST community. Besides, steps have also been taken to establish three special Courts at Cuttack, Baleswar and Balangir for expeditious trial of pending atrocity cases”, Patnaik said.
The Chief Minister, however, did admit that the practice of untouchability against the SC community continues to linger in some form or the other in the state. But he said steps had been taken to create awareness about the provisions of the PCR and PoA Acts and provide relief and rehabilitation to the victims of atrocities.
The state government had released Rs 1.65 crore as compensation to 572 SC atrocity victims and Rs 2.08 crore as cash incentive to 421 inter-caste married couples during the current year, Patnaik informed.