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IAS officer’s order to seize household goods of tribal families invoke rights panel's ire

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BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) has taken strong exception to report that an official issued orders to seize household goods of tribal families in Sheopur.

The incident occurred in Saipur Kalan town in Sheopur district. The order was given after the families couldn’t get construction of households completed, under the Prime Minister’s scheme for housing which is meant for poor families.

The officer—Rishi Garg, who is posted as chief executive officer of the district panchayat at Sheopur, purportedly issued the order that the household goods of certain tribal families be seized for their failure to complete the construction work.

The Commission got information that the families were having a tough time as the goods were snatched away on official orders. The families were told that this was because of their failure to get the construction work, completed.

Insiders say that the families were beneficiaries under the scheme. However, they didn’t get the money that was needed for complete construction and hence work couldn’t be completed. However, for this reason, they were penalized and the arbitrary action to take away the household goods was taken.

The families insist that they didn’t have any money to continue construction work. “We used the amount and didn’t have more money to continue the construction work”, said an elderly tribal. “They took away all our goods”, he rued.

After the issue hit local media and made it to headlines, the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) took cognisance of it. The Commission has sought a report from the district collector in this regard.

It has asked as to whether there is any provision that if the construction could not be completed, the household goods could be seized. Also, panel has sought information that whether the PM Housing Scheme has any such point that makes it mandatory to have construction by particular agency and the survey of construction work.

Garg is not new to controversies. Home Guards had expressed anger when he had ordered an elderly Home Guard personnel to make ten rounds of the collectorate and the latter had fallen unconscious during the run. Later, the home guards had made an official complaint. A memorandum was sent to the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too, in this regard.