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Rehabilitation of the Indira Sagar Pariyojana Displaced

This article, based on a survey of families displaced by the Indira Sagar Pariyojana dam in Madhya Pradesh, assesses the rehabilitation outcomes. The living standards of people have deteriorated as incomes of most families have fallen by more than half as compared to the pre-displacement years. The main cause of the devastation is the poor design and implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement programme. An appendix providing survey information is also posted on the web site; the appendix was not reviewed, edited and published in the print edition.

INSIGHTEconomic & Political Weekly December 22, 200727Rehabilitation of the Indira Sagar Pariyojana DisplacedKaivalya Desai, Vineet Jain, Rahul Pandey, P Srikant, Upmanyu TrivediThis article, based on a survey of families displaced by the Indira Sagar Pariyojana dam in Madhya Pradesh, assesses the rehabilitation outcomes. The living standards of people have deteriorated as incomes of most families have fallen by more thanhalf as compared to the pre-displacement years. The main cause of the devastation is the poor design and implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement programme. An appendix providing survey information is also posted on the web site; the appendix was not reviewed, edited and published in the print edition. The Indira Sagar Pariyojana (ISP) is one of several large dams be-ing built on the river Narmada. These dams are part of a mega network of projects in the Narmada valley that aims to supply water to the drought-prone areas of Gujarat and also produce some electricity. TheISP is administered by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) of the government of Madhya Pradesh(MP) and implemented by the Narmada Hydro-electric Development Corporation (NHDC). TheNHDC has been incorporated as a pri-vate company – a joint venture of the Na-tional Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and the government of MP.TheISP is located about 10 km from Pu-nasa village in Khandwa district in west-ernMP. Its planned height is 262.13 m (full reservoir level – FRL) from sea level, all of which has been built. Its maximum water level (MWL) is 263.35 m which causes the back water level (BWL) to rise in certain periods and submerge more land at the reservoir’s periphery than what is sub-merged atFRL. The state government claims that, besides feeding water into the downstream Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), theISP will irrigate 1.23 lakh hectares in Khandwa and Khargone districts of MP and will support an installed power gen-eration capacity of 1,000MW. According to government estimates made during the time of dam construction, the ISP was to submerge 248 villages and one town (Harsud), displace 80,572 peo-ple belonging to 30,739 families, and sub-merge 91,348 ha of land including 41,111 ha of forest land (most of the remaining being agricultural land). Several other es-timates of the number of displaced people, including those whose houses will sub-merge at the BWL corresponding toMWL, put the figure at far more than one lakh.In July, 2005, the high court of MP found several lacunae in the rehabilitation and resettlement(R&R) process. About 91 new villages that were to come under sub-mergence in the monsoon of 2005 had not been rehabilitated by July of that year and thousands of families had not been given either compensation or house-plots be-fore evacuation. Hence the court ordered the government ofMP andNHDC that the water level of the dam should not be in-creased above 248 m until full rehabilita-tion is completed. However, even in the latter half of 2006, a lot of families who would be submerged due to rising backwaters were left out of theR&R process. The surveys carried out by the government of MP andNHDCto as-sess submergence were found to be errone-ous. Hence, in September, 2006, the high court held that the properties of families affected atBWL will have to be acquired and the families rehabilitated before the water level rose to anFRL of 262.13 m. The court directed the Central Water Commis-sion (CWC) to assess the extent of submer-gence at the backwaters. At the same time, the court permitted the height of reservoir to be raised from 255 m to 260 m. Gross DeficienciesMany people facing submergence were forcibly evacuated without adequate gov-ernment resettlement sites in place, and hence were forced to resettle on their own. For many people, it has been more than two years, and in some cases more than four years, since displacement and subsequent resettlement in either govern-ment or private sites. Most independent studies undertaken to assess rehabilita-tion of “oustees” have observed gross de-ficiencies in the rehabilitation process and sub-satisfactory outcomes. For instance, Sharma (2005) reported absence of a reha-bilitation plan, inadequate compensation, loss of livelihood, and lack of alternative employment in case of oustees of Harsud town, which was evacuated almost over-night. An independent commission consti-tuted by the National Campaign for Peo-ple’s Right to Information, after attending seven public hearings across Khandwa district, noted gross human rights viola-tion, forcible displacement, and absence of adequate rehabilitation and livelihood We would like to express deepest gratitude to our friends at Narmada Bachao Andolan – Chit-taroopa Palit, Alok Agrawal, Bhagwan Bhai, Ram Kunwar, Sangeeta, Bala, Kalu and many others. The indomitable courage, passion and humility they display in the incessant strug-gle with the displaced people of the Narmada valley has been our main inspiration for under-taking this survey. Their struggle is a beacon of light in the vast darkness of displacement, deprivation and exploitation that has filled the valley since the large dams were being built. We are also grateful to the many displaced people living in several resettled sites of Indira Sagar Pariyojana who welcomed us and will-ingly gave us time to narrate their real human experiences. An unedited version of an appendix has been hosted on the EPW web site alongside this article.Kaivalya Desai, Vineet Jain and Upmanyu Trivedi are students of Delhi University. P Srikant is doing his doctoral work at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, while Rahul Pandey is an independent researcher (Email: rahulanjula@gmail.com)
INSIGHTDecember 22, 2007 Economic & Political Weekly28Table: Aggregate Composition of Surveyed FamiliesDimension Category No of Families SurveyedType of resettlement Government site 299 Privatesite 130 Before displacement After displacementDominant economic activity Mainly landowning farmers* 182 137 Smallfarmers** 8633 Mainly farm labourers 127 212 Other means of skilled employment self-employed, government employed, etc 22 19 Unskilled labourers (e g, migrant factory labourers) 0 9 No means of employment 12 19* Almost all exclusive landowning farmers we surveyed were medium farmers, owning farmland in the range of 5-40 acres; most of them can economically sustain their families without having to do any other work.** Small farmers are those owning less than five acres of (mostly non-irrigated) land; most such families we surveyed were of very small farmers who also partially engage in farm labour work to sustain themselves.opportunities [NCPRI 2004]. Now that it has been two to four years since the dis-placement took place, there is a need to comprehensively assessR&R status of the people, especially in the rural areas. To fill this crucial gap, the authors of this paper visited several government and privately resettled sites from September to Novem-ber 2006, and carried out a detailed sur-vey which included both collection of rele-vant data and one-to-one discussions with families living in those sites. This paper is an outcome of the survey. The findings and analyses reported here are based on our direct observations and interactions with the displaced people during the field survey.What the Government Has OfferedThe R&R policy of the government of MP mandates that a person whose agri-cultural land is to be submerged due to a project is entitled to receive land and be rehabilitated at least six months before the likely submergence date, as per the following norms:– A person with less than five acres of sub-merged land will get five acres of cultiva-ble and irrigated land.– A person with five or more acres of sub-merged land will get same size of culti-vable and irrigated land.The clause requiringR&R to be completed within a minimum period of six month before submergence is in consonance with the Supreme Court orders in Tehri and Narmada cases.In reality, however, no land, barren or otherwise, was offered to the oustees of ISP. This was the main reason that most oustees were not agreeable to the R&R. As a way out of this imbroglio and to show the implementation of the R&R package, the government ofMP later revised the R&R package. According to the revised package, every displaced family ofISP was to be offered a house-plot (the price of which was later deducted from compen-sation amount) on a government resettle-ment site, along with cash compensation in exchange for its agricultural land and other submerged assets like house, trees, and wells. In addition, every adult mem-ber of a family was offered a special re-habilitation grant (SRG) in cash. Further, the high court has ordered that adult sons and unmarried adult daughters are also entitled to five acres of cultivable and irrigated land.The amount for cash compensation was fixed at Rs 60,000 per acre of irriga-ted land and Rs 40,000 per acre of non-irrigated land. SRG amount was fixed at Rs 94,000 lump sum for a person belong-ing toSC/ST category and Rs 35,000 for others. In addition, the state government also promised to build certain civic infra-structure on each government site, includ-ing roads, electricity distribution wires, public wells, drainage system, primary school, etc. However, a majority of the oustees had to resettle privately as the government did not make resettlement sites for them. In many cases where a government site was offered, it did not have most of the basic amenities required for sustenance. Many displaced families are yet to receive sev-eral of their legal entitlements. Despite high court orders, the adult sons and un-married adult daughters have not been offered any land. Lands of at least a few thousand people, whose houses will come under submergence at BWL andFRL, have still not been acquired and they are yet to be rehabilitated.Survey of Displaced FamiliesWith the objective of assessing post- dis-placement status of oustee families and change in their economic and social well-being after displacement and reset-tlement, we attempted to cover repre-sentative families of various types in the survey. In all we covered five sites where people have been resettled by the govern-ment – Jhingadarh, Bhangarda, Chikli, Ambakhal, Jhagariya – and six sites where people have preferred to resettle on their own (i e, privately) – Barud, Naya Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya, Dinkarpura, Nagarbeda. A total of 429 families (1,753 members), were sur-veyed by direct visits to their houses. All surveyed sites belong to Harsud tehsil of Khandwa district inMP and the Harsud tehsil region has been the most severely affected by submergence due toISP.The survey was not based on any random sample. We visited the sites unannounced in 2006-07. In each resettlement site we first visited the village sarpanch and ob-tained from him the following informa-tion: Overview of the village before and after displacement; layout of the site; composition of the village according to various castes and communities (samaaj) and their location distribution in the site. Then we visited the cluster of every samaaj and in each cluster we covered at least five households in the survey. Selection of households was not random but influenced by several factors like the houses we could access first, the houses we found open, and the people who themselves saw and ap-proached us out of curiosity. On the whole, however, we made an attempt to cover households from various socio-economic strata in a resettlement site.In general, the population of a privately resettled site was observed to be much less than that of a government resettled site. This is because government sites are bet-ter planned and have greater support of state resources for infrastructure, whereas private sites are organically formed as a result of a small group of families deciding to buy plots at the same location and other families following them over time. There-fore, the average sample size of surveyed families of a private site is less than that of a government site.
INSIGHTEconomic & Political Weekly December 22, 200729In each village we surveyed families from every socio-economic stratum so as to get a representative picture. The aggregate com-position of surveyed families on some key dimensions is shown in the table (p 28).Families in all five government reset-tlement sites that we visited were origi-nally residing in villages falling in the submergence zone of theISP but located within three to four km of resettled sites. Most families in a particular resettled vil-lage have moved from the same original village (with same name as the resettled one), except in the case of Bhangarda where they have come from multiple vill-ages (Borkheda Khurd, Baldi, Jalgaon, and others). In contrast, some families of privately resettled sites have moved from original (submergence) villages located as far as 30-40 km, especially those who lost all land and were keen to begin their lives afresh in a location that was more suitable among various possible options. How-ever, in many cases, families preferred to resettle privately in a nearby location because some of their original land was saved from submergence whereas there was no government site at a convenient distance. Almost every private site that we visited was constituted by families from multiple submerged villages. This was ex-pected as private sites formed in a more organic and less planned fashion than government sites.Inconvenient LocationOne of the main reasons why some peo-ple accepted to live in government reset-tlement sites – some of which are located comfortably close to the original (dis-placed) villages – is that part of their origi-nal land had not been submerged, and this held them back. However, for many vil-lages falling in the submergence zone, the government resettlement sites were not located close enough to original location. Moreover, many government sites were inconvenient from various viewpoints such as distance from the nearest market-place, distance from urban habitation, quality and price of land plots, availability of middle and high schools in the vicinity, and other basic facilities. Most displaced people who were offered such govern-ment sites did not accept them and instead chose to resettle privately. In many cases the people were not offered any govern-ment site and therefore had no choice but to resettle privately.Impact on Displaced PeopleAs can be seen from the table, there has been a decline in the number of fami-lies of exclusive landowning farmers (by about 25 per cent) and even small farm-ers (by about 62 per cent), and a sharp rise in the number of landless farm labourer families (by about 67 per cent) in the sur-veyed sample. The number of families with unskilled non-farm labourers and unemployed adults have also increased. Thus, on the whole, while almost all fami-lies continue to remain economically de-pendent on agriculture, their economic status has deteriorated. Many previously exclusive landowning farmers have now become small farmers, some of whom have to partially rely on labour work for sustaining their families. Many previously small farmers have now become landless labourers. Many of those who still remain small farmers have to do more of “farm labour work” to sustain their families. Several have become unemployed.Appendices A and B summarise our findings of surveys of government reset-tled sites and privately resettled sites, respectively. (The appendices are not published in the print edition but are hosted on the EPW web site alongside this article.) As can be seen from these appen-dices, there has been a drastic change in several economic and non-economic indi-cators of livelihood, mostly for the worse. Moreover, the nature and extent of such impacts are different for different catego-ries of people. The following subsections present our analysis of these findings.Loss of Agricultural Lands: Most land-owning families have lost a major share of their agricultural lands to submergence. As the rate of compensation for irrigated land has been at most half (in many regions, at most one-third) of the market rate, no family has been able to buy the equivalent size of land after resettlement. For in-stance, among surveyed sample of previ-ously landowning farmer families (includ-ing both big-medium and small farmers), about 70 per cent from Jhingadarh, 100 per cent from Bhangarda, 34 per cent from Chikli, 80 per cent from Ambakhal, 70 per cent from Jhagariya, and majority from Barud, Naya-Siwar, and Nagarbeda now own less than half of their previous farm-land ownership. Many who were small or medium landowning farmers earlier have now become partial labourers. Some of them have been rendered landless.Therefore, the income of most families has reduced significantly as almost all of them continue to be dependent exclusively on agriculture. Every surveyed farmer family from Bhangarda, Naya-Siwar, Barud, and Nagarbeda reported a more than 50 per cent decline in their income. In Jhingadarh, Ambakhal, Jhagariya, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, and Hantiya, a majority of the farmer families reported more than 50 per cent decline in income.Loss of Employment: In our visits and interactions with villagers, it was evident that loss of agricultural lands had an im-mediate impact on employment opportu-nities for members of communities that were directly dependent on farm-related activities. Many villages witnessed a sharp fall in cumulative agricultural landownership. For instance, landowned cumulatively by all families in Naya-Siwar and Nagerbeda had reduced by more than half. Another displaced village, Bhavarli, that we visited but did not include in this paper due to inadequate family level data, has seen about 90 per cent reduction in the cumulative agricultural land of residents. However the state government claims its resettlement site of Bhavarli, with semi-pucca roads, five public wells, electric-ity supply, and well laid-out houses and streets, as one of its model sites.With the decline in landownership in a village, its landowning farmers lose in-come due to the fall in total agricultural output, and its landless farm labourers and small farmers who partially engage in farm labour work witness a more drastic income reduction owing to a fall in em-ployment. The latter is a consequence of twin factors – (i) decrease in demand for farm labour work as total agricultural land in the village goes down, and (ii) drop in the labour wage rate as labour supply far outstrips demand, a trend accelerated by an increase in proportion of the landless. Along with a decline in quantum, the
INSIGHTDecember 22, 2007 Economic & Political Weekly30demand for farm labour work also be-comes more uncertain and variable, thereby inducing greater economic inse-curity among labourer families. Moreover, demand for supporting kinds of employ-ment (or self-employment), like tailoring, carpentry, and grocery shop, falls too be-cause of the general decline in purchasing capacity of families (consumers) living in such a village. This is what happened with varying degree in all sites that we visited.Labourers’ ProblemsThe population of landless or small land-owning labourers increased significantly in Bhangarda, Ambakhal, and Jhagariya (among government sites), and in Barud, Naya-Siwar, Hantiya, and Nagarbeda (among private sites). Labourers in all these sites complained of a severe re-duction in farm labour work, from 15-25 days a month in the original villages (pre-displacement) to two to nine days a month in locations near the resettled sites (post-displacement), as well as a drop in wage rates. Labourers of Jhingadarh and Chikli reported relatively less severe but a distinct decline in farm labour work and income. In all surveyed cases, labourer families reported at least 50 per cent fall in average annual income.Some resettlement sites also witnessed a fall in other kinds of employment that are sustained by close proximity to urban or semi-urban markets. These are the sites that are inconveniently located, i e, far from urban or semi-urban centres in con-trast with the relatively greater proximity of the original pre-displacement villages. This aspect is explained in greater detail in the next sub-section.Proximate Markets and Economic Links Lost: A village in course of its organic evolution builds numerous economic and social linkages with the neighbouring re-gions. This results in the economic depen-dence of the village community with the neighbouring regions, especially the near-est urban and semi-urban centres and the local wholesale trading hubs of agri-cultural products. Such centres and hubs provide sustained markets for all nearby village communities to sell and buy vari-ous products and services. For instance, farmers of such villages sell agricultural produce, labourers seek a variety of daily wage work like those on construction sites, small-medium factories and shops, and other skilled and semi-skilled persons like tailors, barbers, carpenters, mechan-ics and rickshaw-pullers survive by selling their services in these markets.Our survey brought out glaringly how people suffer acutely when they are dis-placed from their original villages that are located close to urban or semi-urban mar-kets or otherwise connected conveniently to them (via roads with well running pub-lic transport services). We found that the majority of government resettlement sites are not conveniently located from this viewpoint. For instance, government sites like Chikli and Bhavarli, though located within three to four km from the original submerged locations, have become almost cut off from the town of Harsud on which their residents depended. While earlier, Harsud was within three km from Chikli and Bhavarli, now the distance is about 60 km by road as the town and the villages have been relocated and the expanding reservoir water has cut off the previous road links.As Harsud was a town with a popula-tion of more than 40,000, it had for gen-erations been an attractive market for the residents of Chikli, Bhavarli and several other villages. Most villagers frequently travelled to Harsud for some economic ac-tivity and had become strongly dependent on it for their livelihood. After displace-ment and resettlement, all such links have been destroyed. Now the nearest market is a semi-urban area called Chanera which is about 15 km from the resettled sites of Chikli and Bhavarli, and farther from some other sites. However, Chanera is an old, small and saturated market which already has commercial links with neigh-bouring regions existing for generations. Therefore it is now extremely difficult for the people of Chikli, Bhavarli and other sites in that region to build new economic links from scratch. Their plight is painfully exemplified by a resident of Bhavarli who owned several cows and buffaloes and previously made a living for his family by selling milk to several residents of Harsud. After mov-ing to the resettlement site, he has lost his entire customer base, forced to sell off most his cattle, resulting in depression, and an addiction to drinking.Loss of Other Natural Resource:People living in rural areas are dependent for livelihood on several natural resources besides land. They keep cattle (cows, buf-faloes, goats) for milk and dung. Dung has multiple uses, such as manure for farm-land and fuel for cooking. Various trees are grown by families in their farmland and house plots as sources for providing fruits, wood, herbal medicines, and shade. Wood is used as fuel for cooking as well as in construction of houses and for mak-ing furniture. In addition, there are trees, bushes and grassland in the common land of a village, part of which is often used for grazing by the cattle and people col-lect wood and twigs for fuel. Many sub-merged villages ofISP also had the ben-efit of proximity to forests which were a constant source of wood and other useful livelihood inputs. Finally, there are pub-lic wells situated in the common village land which are used by everyone to source water for drinking, bathing, washing and other activities.Common ResourcesSuch natural resources are often used by both landowning and landless families. Moreover, they are a lifeline to the latter. Landless people of a village are critically dependent on common resources like trees, wells and grazing land for every-day living. In addition, they may also be permitted by landowning families to col-lect wood, dung and other resources from their land. Due to the close network of economic and social relationships that they maintain with rest of the village the landless people have access to these critical resources, which they do not own themselves. Such relationships are built and sustained in a village over genera-tions. These relationships have been cut off due to displacement and dispersion of a village into various displacement sites. In addition, villages in all sites that we visited have experienced a dramatic re-duction in all such natural resources after displacement and resettlement. While pri-vately owned resources have depleted sig-nificantly, common resources are almost fully lost.
INSIGHTEconomic & Political Weekly December 22, 200731Among surveyed families, privately owned useful trees have almost van-ished in Jhingadarh, Chikli, Ambakhal, Naya-Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, and Nagarbeda. In Bhangarda, Jhagar-iya, Barud, and Hantiya, they have de-pleted by 65-80 per cent. Before displace-ment, while landless families owned a few trees, landowning families owned many. For instance, the average number of trees per surveyed family before dis-placement, was about 21 in Dinkarpura, 12 in Ambakhal, six in Nagarbeda, three in Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road and Hanti-ya, and two in Jhingadarh. Although people will privately grow trees over time in resettlement sites, it is likely to take many years to rebuild the original resource base.Loss of Forest LandAlmost all forest land in that region has been lost due to submergence, thereby suddenly cutting off an important source of regular supply of wood and other in-puts. None of the resettlement sites, including the government ones, have any common land for grazing. The absence of grazing land and worsened economic con-dition have forced many families to sell off a majority of their cattle. As a result, cat-tle population in almost all surveyed vil-lages has come down steeply. Among all surveyed families, it has reduced by more than 80 per cent in Bhangarda and Barud, and by about 60 per cent in Ambakhal, within two to three years after displace-ment.In these villages, a majority of the sur-veyed people were landless or small farm-ers before displacement and most of them have become landless now, with severe adverse effects on their economic status. Cattle population owned by surveyed families of Jhagariya, Naya Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya, and Nagar-beda has fallen by 30-50 per cent, within two to three years after displacement. Surveyed samples in these villages have also witnessed an increase in the number of landless labourers and a significant re-duction in landowned by farmers. This indicates that, while almost all displaced families now find it difficult to maintain cattle at previous levels of ownership, landless and small farmer families have faced the severest hardship. Loss of cattle has, in turn, made life extremely difficult for such families as their supply of dung and milk has almost disappeared.Health Status: Incidents of health pro-blems were reported by some families in all surveyed sites except Siwar-Bhagwan-pura Road, Dinkarpura, and Hantiya. Almost all surveyed families in these three sites are landowning farmers and most of then have been able to purchase new land after displacement.Commonly reported health problems were stomach problems, fever, malaria, and psychological depression and stress. In Ambakhal, an overwhelming majority (about 90 per cent) of surveyed families complained of such problems, probably due to stagnant water-logging near the set-tlement as a result of expanding reservoir backwaters. In other sites, 15-35 per cent of the surveyed families reported such health problems. In all sites, the common causes for declining health appeared to be as fol-lows: (i) absence of clean drinking water, especially for those who cannot afford pri-vate wells, (ii) absence of pucca roads and drainage system in the village, resulting in water-logged, roads and increased mos-quitoes especially in the rainy season, (iii) deterioration of food and nutrition intake due to worsened economic condi-tion, especially among landless and very small farmer families, and (iv) general increase in levels of depression and stress due to worsened economic condition and insecurity, especially among landless and very small farmer families.Almost none of the surveyed sites, in-cluding the government ones, have any primary health centre. One site (Chikli) has a private doctor, but we could not assess his accessibility and affordability to the landless families. In many of the pri-vately resettled sites (where people have chosen to resettle because of the prox-imity to an already established village), primaryhealth centres exist in neigh-bouring villages. But again we could not properly assess the accessibility of reset-tledfamilies, especially the landless, to those facilities.Such deterioration of health among members of some landless families, and a similar threat among others, have both added to their economic burden and also made it more difficult for them to actively seek work in places further away.Educational Opportunities for Chil-dren:The government resettlement sites that we visited have a primary school. But the private sites do not. In some pri-vate sites, like Hantiya, the nearest pri-mary school is more than three to four km away,and therefore some children have dropped out.The other private sites that we visited had a primary school nearby, somost children continue to go to school. In one private site, Barud, comprising mainly of landless labourers, economic constraint was cited as the main rea-son forwithdrawing children from the primary school.More children have dropped out from middle and high schools as many sites are not located at convenient distance from such schools. For instance, the govern-ment site of Chikli, and the private sites of Barud, Naya-Siwar, Hantiya, and Dinkar-pura have witnessed withdrawal of some children from middle and high schools. In Barud, more than 50 per cent of surveyed families reported that children who were previously school-going had dropped out. In other places, 10-18 per cent of surveyed families reported such cases. Most of the children who dropped out due to incon-venient distance are girls. Even among those still going to school several are irregular as reported by the parents. Eco-nomic hardship has been an additional reason for withdrawing children from school, especially among the landless and very small farmer families like many of Barud residents and a few of Bhangarda.Restricted OptionIn cases where there is no middle or high school at a convenient distance, for instance in Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya and Nagarbeda, some children have been sent by parents to live with rela-tives in other places where schools exist. But this option could be exercised only by those who could afford it, mainly land-owning farmers.Most of the children who have now dropped out were going to school before displacement, because middle and high schools were not too far. With cities like

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INSIGHTEconomic & Political Weekly December 22, 200733The entire process was sabotaged by the nexus of vested interests involving per-sons from the district levels down to the villages. This resulted in an atmosphere of utter mistrust, lack of correct information, and rumour mongering in almost every village that was covered under the sub-mergence andR&R scheme.Corruption seeped through at all stages – decisions of the inclusion/exclusion of specific pieces of lands, houses, wells and trees; classification of a piece of agricul-tural land as irrigated or non-irrigated; classification of a house as pucca or kuch-cha; measurement of areas of agricultural lands and houses; accounting of wells and trees; classification of a person as adult or non-adult; and finally, disbursal of funds. We were narrated countless stories of how few influential persons of a village ganged up to garner undue benefits for them-selves whereas the majority, especially the landless and small farmers, had to pay bribes and run from pillar to post for get-ting what was due to them. The hardest hit by corruption have been communities from the lower castes and tribes. All this experience has left bitter relationships be-tween different households and sections of communities in the resettled villages.Condition of Small FarmersAs explained in the first two sub-sections of this section, while, in general, the landholding and the economic condition of landowning farmers has gone down perceptibly, the economic condition of very small farmers and the landless has taken the biggest hit after displacement. The latter category of families, who were already surviving on the margins, has been further pushed to the brink.As cumulative landownership of all the farmers of a village has fallen, so has the demand for farm labour work. The economics of landowning farmers being squeezed, they are under pressure to cut costs. With the supply of labour far exceed-ing demand, wages for all kinds of farm labour work have also been squeezed. In addition, the demand for farm labour work has become more fluctuating and uncertain. Post displacement, a landless labourer is much more uncertain at the beginning of a month about whether he/she will get work and if so, for how many days than what he/she was used to before displacement. Thus, on the one hand, des-perate competition among landless labour-ers has increased (while they continue to live as neighbours). On the other hand, many contemplate in distress (and some have already begun) to migrate to other places, though not sure of where and how much work they will get. This scenario has only added to mutual animosity widening the gulf between the poor and better off communities and castes within a village.Common PracticeIn most cases, the common assets of a household like agricultural land, house, wells, trees, etc, are used by all members and their output shared by all families and members living in it, even though an asset might be registered in the name of only one or few members. This is a com-mon practice in rural households in India. It helps to bind together as a close knit unit, members of different families of a household, and is an important way of providing both economic and social secu-rity to the members. Therefore, while on paper the compensation for assets lost to submergence was given in the name of the “official” owners, it rightly belonged to all the families of the household. However, since all compensation was given as cash, different families of a household rarely agreed on a common way of utilising or investing the money.In cases of unresolved disagreements, which we observed in majority of the households, different families of a house-hold preferred to part ways with their share of cash. We heard many such stories of differences between brothers, between father and sons, and between brothers and married sisters. In most such cases, even when the total amount of compensation was large, the divided share of a particu-lar family was not large enough to make adequate investment in productive assets. Moreover, as different families decided to part ways with their share of cash, in several cases they also moved to live sepa-rately after displacement. Thus, house-holds as units of living in a village became worse off after displacement on both eco-nomic and social aspects. In many house-holds such experiences generated long lasting bitterness in family relationships. Besides deterioration in the economic con-dition, the social and psychological secu-rity derived from living in large close-knit households also dissipated.Infrastructure and Development in Re-settled Sites:In general, the government resettlement sites are better than private sites on aspects of village level infrastruc-ture like common/public area in a village, roads, electricity, water wells, primary school, and some community level facili-ties like the building for the gram pancha-yat. However, the number and quality of these amenities vary widely across differ-ent government sites. For instance, at one end, Bhavarli and Chikli have semi-pucca roads, four to five public wells, electricity wires (though with irregular supply), and a primary school. A drainage system is un-der construction in Bhavarli. At the other end, Jhingadarh has scarce piped water supply, no public well, roads or drainage system; Bhangarda has no public well, piped water or drainage system; Jhaga-riya has no roads or drainage system; and Ambakhal has no roads, electricity, water (wells or pipes) or drainage system.The infrastructure in privately resettled sites is worse. Being self-settled, sites, none of them – Barud, Naya Siwar, Siwar – Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya, Dinkarpura, and Nagarbeda – have roads, water (wells or pipes), electricity, or drainage system. Living and moving around the village be-comes a health hazard, especially during the rainy season. Absence of an indigenous drinking water source has often forced resi-dents to endure huge physical inconven-iences, and sometimes mental harassment, having to fetch water from other sources like public wells in a neighbouring village or wells located in private farmlands. Many people complained that health problems have increased due to both the absence of roads and the scarcity of clean drinking water. Moreover, people resettled in private sites also face hostility from neighbouring host communities. The host communities see them as unwelcome intruders who tend to share their resources like water, trees, grazing land, schools and primary health care facilities, besides competing for labour work and other local employments.Despite worse infrastructure in private sites and the hostility of host villages, a
INSIGHTDecember 22, 2007 Economic & Political Weekly34majority of the displaced people continue to resettle in private sites. As discussed earlier, there were only a few government sites on offer, and many of them were not attractive on criteria related to livelihood, like proximity to the non-submerged part of the original farmland, proximity to markets, accessibility to major roads, and the price of land for potential purchase. The families who decided to resettle pri-vately could choose relatively better loca-tions based on these criteria.Even in the government sites such as Bhavarli and Chikli which have better infrastructure facilities than the rest, the villagers – both landowning farmer and landless families – have witnessed signi-ficant erosion of their economic condi-tion and resource base due to reasons explicated earlier. This economic erosion in these “model” government sites is not significantly different from the erosion that we observed in the other government and private sites. It is for this reason that most residents of Bhavarli and Chikli also felt highly dissatisfied and deprived by the state government despite the infrastruc-ture facilities in their village being better than the rest.Worse than BeforeIn our survey of 429 families (out of a total of more than 30,000 households accounting for much more than a lakh people) displaced due to ISP, we found that living standard of every single fam-ily has deteriorated after the R&R process [see web posting alongside article]. The cash compensation and SRG package has been grossly insufficient to help families make adequate productive investments. Most of the government resettlement sites lack basic amenities like access to markets and employment opportunities, proxi-mity to affordable and cultivable land and forests, availability of trees, grazing land for cattle, basic infrastructure like proper roads, drainage, and in some cases, clean water supply. The inability of the state to provide decent resettlement sites is the reason that majority of the oustees chose to resettle privately. While government sites are slightly better on aspects of roads, water and electricity supply, many pri-vately resettled sites fare slightly better on the more fundamental economic aspects like the proximity to markets and the relatively favourable price of land. How-ever, most private sites do not have even the basic infrastructure like roads, water, electricity and primary school. Moreover, the oustees resettled in private sites face hostility from the neighbouring host com-munity whose resources (like water, trees, grazing land, schools, primary healthcare facilities) they share and with whom they compete locally for labour work and other employments. On the whole, we did not observe any significant difference in the SAGE
INSIGHTEconomic & Political Weekly December 22, 200735extent of deterioration in the standard of living between those settled privately and those resettled in government sites. No family covered in the survey has been able to rebuild its lost livelihood even after two to four years of displacement and resettlement.Most farmers who lost substantial farm land due to submergence could at best purchase a small fraction of it. Several small farmers have become either landless la-bourers or more dependent on farm labour work to supplement insufficient income from farming. The landless labourers, who comprise an overwhelming majority of the oustees, have been pushed further to the brink of precarious survival. The cash received as compensation for lost assets like land was much less (by at least 50 per cent) than the prevailing mar-ket rates. Cash received asSRG too was not sufficient to invest in any major produc-tive asset. In the end, most of the compen-sation and SRG money was spent by the people in multiple contingencies like pur-chase of new house plot, construction of new house, paying off all or part of the old debt, and meeting the running expense of families suddenly trapped in a situation of drastic reduction in farm output and la-bour demand which has been continuing with the same severity even after two to four years of resettlement.The farm labourers’ incomes have fall-en sharply and become more uncertain as both farm labour demand and wage rates have been squeezed. At the beginning of the week adults of labourer families are uncertain if they would be able to support their family through the week. In a ma-jority of the resettled villages, a labourer now does not hope to get work for more than a third of a month, whereas earlier finding work was not this difficult. As eco-nomic hardships deepened and the com-mon grazing land unavailable, almost all families were forced to sell off all or part of their cattle. Some children, espe-cially girls, were withdrawn from schools. Health problems, including physical ill-ness and psychological depression, in-creased. We observed that due to econom-ic distress, seasonal migrations became a common feature; some landless fami-lies began to migrate for the long haul, and more are contemplating longer-term migration. The irony is that people are not sure which place is good enough to migrate and whether their economic con-dition will improve after that.Hopeless SituationThe hopeless situation that we encoun-tered village after village and family after family forced us to ponder about an appropriative alternative R&R package. After our experience we are convinced about two things. First, the amount of cash offered as compensation and SRG was highly insufficient to make any pro-ductive investment required to rebuild a livelihood. Second, though cash is a useful component of the compensation package, it cannot suffice as the main or only com-ponent. The second point becomes crucial in the special context of displacement as in case of theISP oustees. The context is that of a person, who has rarely seen cash, even a few thousand rupees, being sud-denly handed over cash worth thousands of rupees (or even a few lakh), and thrust with the contingency of making funda-mental livelihood decisions. It is a diffi-cult task especially in the midst of a local environment marked by high levels of mistrust, misinformation and corruption, and surrounded by several goons, middle-men, moneylenders and marketers ready to pounce at the slightest opportunity to make money at others’ expense. In such a context only a few of us can take cool headed, rational decisions. People’s BitternessNow that the dust has settled down and their daily lives stabilised at a worse level of struggle than before, everyone is bitter about what happened. In retrospect, almost everyone we met felt that they should have got land for land. When peo-ple, whose main skill and knowledge base is in agriculture, are suddenly uprooted from agricultural assets and resources, there are only two ways to rebuild the lost livelihoods. Either they get back good quality agricultural assets (i e, cultivable and irrigated lands along with the peri-pheral support systems) which they can harness with the skill and knowledge they already possess. Or they should be provided with an alternate productive asset with potentially attractive markets and also granted sufficient material sup-port as a cushion during the time taken to train themselves in acquiring new skills and be provided with the knowledge base required to operate the new assets eco-nomically, source new inputs, market new outputs, to begin lives afresh.Needs of PolicyIn the case ofISP, other dams on Narmada, and other development projects that dis-place local people who are mostly under-privileged, a robustR&R policy should have at least the following components:(i) Project Approval Linked to R&R Implementation and Performance: Thismust be non-negotiable because unless the stakes of policymakers and project owners are linked to granting full justice to the potential oustees, the R&R implementation will not receive the de-sired level of commitment. Thus project approval must be linked not only to the implementation but also to the outcome of R&R. Before clearing a project, there should be visible signs that the process of rebuilding livelihoods of affected people is on track. Since it may take at least two to three years for such signs to emerge even in case of the best possibleR&R, the design and implementation of R&R as part of a project’s approval process should be appropriately phased in time. This is not a problem that cannot be addressed as pre-paratory lead time for most such projects is much longer (it was about 20 years in case ofISP).(ii) Comprehensive Design of R&R Package Aimed Explicitly at Rebuilding Livelihoods: R&R package must contain various elements that are critical for re-building lost livelihoods of displaced fami-lies. These must include: (a) Non-cash ele-ments like investment in productive assets such as adequate size of cultivable and irrigated farm land for each family (this size should have a minimum fixed compo-nent sufficient for sustaining a family and a variable component proportional to lost land), provision of wide choice to a family with respect to location of new farm land and house plot, selection of resettlement sites based on the proximity and access to markets and urban or semi-urban
INSIGHTDecember 22, 2007 Economic & Political Weekly36habitations, provision of appropriate training in case a family wishes to make its investment in a productive asset or skill other than agricultural land, provision of good quality infrastructure in and around the resettlement sites like primary/mid-dle/high schools, primary health centres, pucca roads, drainage, electricity distribu-tion and communication systems, and the availability of grazing land and natural re-sources like forests, and (b) cash element similar toSRG but an increased and sufficient amount, to be used by a family towards exercising its choice while mak-ing new productive investments besides taking care of financial and other contin-gencies. The cash element of R&R package must take care of three fundamental needs of a family that is trying to pick up the piec-es and rebuild livelihood from the scratch – (i) begin on a clean base (pay off past debt, buy house plot and rebuild a new house); (ii) make fresh productive investments (for example, new cattle, land, skills, equip-ment, grocery shop, other manufacturing/service units, etc); and (iii) have reason-able savings for the future. Bank account must be opened for each family in the loca-tion of its resettlement so that they can be encouraged to save money.(iii) Robust Measures of R&R Per-formance: Performance of R&R imple-mentation must be measured on a set of indicators that gives a reliable idea if, after two to three years, a family is on an irreversible track towards rebuilding its livelihood. Such a set should include measures like family’s net annual income; change in annual income compared to pre-displacement years as well as over the past two to three years; whether cur-rent sources of income are sustainable in the long run; market value of family as-sets/resources including farmland, house plot, house, trees, animals and others; change in value of such assets/resources compared to pre-displacement years; whether some adults need to temporar-ily migrate under economic distress; whether all children above four years go to school; whether the family members have easy access to the primary health-care centre, clean water, pucca roads, electricity, communication, and natural resources like river and forests; whether the animals have easy access to sufficient grazing land.(iv) Participation of Affected People in R&R Design and Approval: A longer-term solution is to establish a democratic mechanism that necessitates participa-tion of the project-affected people in the processes of design of the R&R package, its approval, implementation and perform-ance monitoring. There must be a system to ensure that, once the R&R implementa-tion is under way, periodic certification of its satisfactory performance is taken from the affected people before proceeding further, and if not satisfied, they have the authority to rescind project approval. Rep-resentatives of gram panchayats as well as of the landless and small landowning people need to be involved in all aspects of this. Our observation has been that gram panchayats are often controlled by land-owning and influential sections whereas majority of the villagers are often the landless labourers and very small farm-ers. Hence adequate representation of the latter sections is crucial. Such a kind of democratic mechanism is the only long-term antidote to the existing centralised decision-making processes which, by defi-nition, are controlled by individuals who, even if not bad intentioned, are often al-ienated from the ground reality and have visceral suspicion for the ordinary people. Such alienation is the main reason that the authorities, far from being sensitive to the concerns of people facing submer-gence due to ISP, used brutal force to evict many of them and demolish their houses even when noR&R was in place. Only a democratic process of the R&R design, approval and monitoring, and its linkage to project clearance, can bring the most essential element, ie, sensitivity towards oustees, at the core of theR&R’s guiding principle.As India, in its ongoing phase of rapid industrial investment, is likely to witness an even greater surge in projects likeSSP, ISP, Singur, and Nandigram-typeSEZs in the near future, the livelihood of at least a few million people are at stake. In order that these people are not further margin-alised and pushed to limits of hopeless-ness, it is imperative for the government to establish a robustR&R policy. Such a policy, like the rural employment guaran-tee scheme, should be seen as an integral part of a comprehensive social security system that India urgently needs to put in place to allow the marginalised section of the population – the rural landless, small farmers, urban slum-dwellers, dalits and tribal people – the luxury of a safety valve for mitigating potentially devastating ef-fects of ruthless industrialisation and GDP growth. In addition to having such a social security system, the core economic poli-cies that rechannel investments should be redesigned so as to make deprived people explicitly participate in the new economic activities and reap the fruits of growth, and simultaneously reduce distress migra-tion and preserve the ecosystems.ReferencesNCPRI (2004): ‘Without Land or Livelihood: The Indira Sagar Dam – State Accountability and Rehabilitation Issues’, Report of the Independent People’s Commission.Sharma, B (2005): ‘Oustees of Indira Sagar Dam: Saga of Harsud’,Economic & Political Weekly, January 1-7, VolXL, No 1.Contributions are invited on following Themes:1. Economic Development and Education: Experience of Asian Countries.2. Special Economic Zones in Indian Perspective.3. Economic Liberalisation,Globalisation and Labour Market in India.4. World Bank in India’s Economic Development.5. Dynamics of Development:Experience of Globalisation Era.6. Relevance and Significance of Gandhian Views in Contemporary World.The original and investigative research papers are welcome for the publication.Details and submission at: amitabhshuk@gmail.com latest by 31st January 2008.
PUBLISHED IN THE PRINT EDITION

This appendix is being posted on the web site of EPW for the benefit of readers who may want more information. Please note that the material has not been processed by EPW.

Assessment of Rehabilitation of People Displaced due to Indira Sagar Pariyojana

Kaivalya Desai, Vineet Jain, Rahul Pandey, P. Srikant, Upmanyu Trivedi

Abstract

This study is based on a survey of 429 rural families displaced from Indira Sagar Pariyojana (ISP) 2-4 years ago and now living in resettlement sites. Living standards of people have deteriorated as incomes of most families have fallen by more than half as compared to predisplacement years. Farmers lost significant land but could not purchase even a small fraction; small farmers have to now do more labour work for sustenance; landless labourers have been further marginalized as both farm labour demand and wage rates have fallen. Cash compensation for assets jointly held by multiple families of a house, combined with corruption and misinformation that characterized compensation disbursal process, has contributed to mistrust among family and community relationships in every village. Absence of civic amenities in resettlement sites has made matters worse. More children, especially girls, have dropped out of school. Cattle population and trees have declined sharply. With economic hardship and uncertain future, cases of physical illness and psychological depression have increased. Main cause of all this devastation has been poor design and implementation of Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R). Our findings highlight inadequacy of cash compensation as main support for rebuilding lost livelihoods of people displaced from such projects. In light of ongoing surge of investments in big industrial projects, India urgently needs a comprehensive R&R policy. New policy must explicitly aim at rebuilding livelihoods and project clearance must be linked to its satisfactory performance. R&R performance must be measured on livelihood indicators like change in family income, market value of new productive assets, sustainability of new sources of income, and access to farmland, clean water, grazing land, forests, electricity, markets, education and health facilities. The processes of R&R design, approval and monitoring must become democratic and have participation of affected people, especially the landless and small farmers.

Indira Sagar Pariyojana (ISP) is one of several large dams being built on river Narmada. These dams are part of a mega network of projects in Narmada valley that aims to supply water to drought prone areas of Gujarat and also produce some electricity. ISP is administered by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) of the Government of Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) and implemented by the Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC). NHDC has been incorporated as a private company – a joint venture of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and the Government of M.P.

ISP is located about 10 km from Punasa village in Khandwa district in western M.P. Its planned height is 262.13 m (Full Reservoir Level – FRL) from sea level, all of which has been built. Its Maximum Water Level (MWL) is 263.35 m which causes the Back Water Level (BWL) to rise in certain periods and submerge more land at the reservoir’s periphery than what is submerged at FRL. The state government claims that, besides feeding water into the downstream SSP, ISP will irrigate 1.23 lakh hectares in Khandwa and Khargone districts of M.P. and will support an installed power generation capacity of 1000 MW.

According to government estimates made during the time of dam construction, ISP was to submerge 248 villages and one town (Harsud), displace 80,572 people belonging to 30,739 families, and submerge 91,348 ha of land including 41,111 ha of forest land (most of the remaining being agricultural land). Several other estimates of number of displaced people, including those whose houses will submerge at the BWL corresponding to MWL, put the figure at far more than 1 lakh.

In July, 2005, the High Court of M.P. found several lacunae in the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) process. About 91 new villages that were to come under submergence in the monsoon of 2005 had not been rehabilitated by July and thousands of families had not been given compensation and house-plots before evacuation. Hence the Court ordered the Govt. of M.P. and NHDC that water level of the dam should not be increased above 248 m until full rehabilitation is completed.

However, even in the latter half of 2006, a lot of families who would be submerged due to rising back-waters were left out of the R&R process. The surveys carried out by the Govt. of

M.P. and NHDC to assess submergence were found to be erroneous. Hence, in September, 2006, the High Court held that the properties of families affected at BWL will have to be acquired and the families be rehabilitated before the waters are finally raised up to FRL of

262.13 m. The Court directed the Central Water Commission (CWC) to assess the extent of submergence at the back-waters. At the same time, the Court permitted the height of reservoir to be raised from 255 m to 260 m.

Many people facing submergence were forcibly evacuated without adequate government resettlement sites in place, and hence were forced to resettle on their own. For many people, it has been more than 2 years, in some cases more than 4 years, since displacement and resettlement in either government or private sites. Most independent studies undertaken to assess rehabilitation of oustees have observed gross deficiencies in the rehabilitation process and sub-satisfactory outcomes. For instance, Sharma (2005) reported absence of rehabilitation plan, inadequate compensation, loss of livelihood, and lack of alternative employment in case of oustees of Harsud town which was evacuated almost overnight. An independent commission constituted by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, after attending seven public hearings across Khandwa district, noted gross human rights violation, forcible displacement, and absence of adequate rehabilitation and livelihood opportunities (NCPRI, 2004). Now that it has been 2-4 years since displacement, there is a need to comprehensively assess R&R status of the people, especially in the rural areas. To fill in this crucial gap, authors of this paper visited several governmental and privately resettled sites during September to November, 2006, and carried out a detailed survey which included both collection of relevant data and one-to-one discussions with families living in those sites. This paper is an outcome of the survey.

We would like to mention that this survey and study did not receive any external funds, and the authors themselves bore all expenses incurred during the survey. The findings and analyses reported here are exclusively based on our direct observations and interactions with the displaced people during the field survey.

I WHAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS OFFERED

The R&R Policy of the Government of M.P. mandates that a person whose agricultural land is to be submerged due to a project is entitled to receive land and be rehabilitated at least 6 months before the likely submergence date, as per the following norms:

• A person with less than 5 acres of submerged land will get 5 acres of cultivable and irrigated land,

• A person with 5 or more acres of submerged land will get same size of cultivable and irrigated land. The clause requiring R&R to be completed minimum 6 month before submergence is in consonance with the Supreme Court orders in Tehri and Narmada cases.

In reality, however, no land, barren or otherwise, was offered to the oustees of ISP. This was the main reason that most oustees were not agreeable to the R&R. As a way out of this imbroglio and to show implementation of R&R package, the Govt. of M.P. later revised the R&R package. According to the revised package, every displaced family of ISP was to be offered a house-plot (the price of which was later deducted from compensation amount) on a government resettlement site, along with a cash compensation in exchange of its agricultural land and other submerged assets like house, trees, and wells. In addition, every adult member of a family was offered a Special Rehabilitation Grant (SRG) in cash. Further, the High Court has ordered that adult sons and unmarried adult daughters are also entitled to 5 acres of cultivable and irrigated land.

The amount for cash compensation was fixed at Rs. 60,000 per acre of irrigated land and Rs. 40,000 per acre of non-irrigated land. SRG amount was fixed at Rs. 94,000 lumpsum for a person belonging to SC/ST category and Rs. 35,000 for others. In addition, the state government also promised to build certain civic infrastructure on each government site, including roads, electricity distribution wires, public wells, drainage system, primary school, etc.

However, majority of oustees had to resettle privately as the government did not make resettlement sites for them. In many cases where a government site was offered, it did not have most of basic amenities required for sustenance. Many displaced families are yet to receive several of their legal entitlements. Despite High Court orders, the adult sons and unmarried adult daughters have not been offered any land. Lands of at least a few thousand people, whose house will come under submergence at BWL and FRL, have still not been acquired and they are yet to be rehabilitated.

II THE SURVEY OF DISPLACED FAMILIES

With the objective of assessing post-displacement status of oustee families and change in their economic and social well-being after displacement and resettlement, we attempted to cover representative families of various types in the survey. In all we covered 5 sites where people have been resettled by the government – Jhingadarh, Bhangarda, Chikli, Ambakhal, Jhagariya – and 6 sites where people have preferred to resettle on their own (i.e. privately) – Barud, Naya Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya, Dinkarpura, Nagarbeda. A total of 429 families, accounting for 1753 members, were surveyed by direct visits to their houses. All surveyed sites belong to Harsud tehsil of Khandwa district in M.P. Harsud tehsil region has been the most severely affected by submergence due to ISP.

In general, population of a privately resettled site was observed to be much less than that of a government resettled site. This is because government sites are more planned and have greater support of state resources for infrastructure, whereas private sites are organically formed as a result of a small group of families deciding to buy plots at the same location and some other families following them over time. Therefore, average sample size of surveyed families of a private site is less than that of a government site.

In each village we surveyed some families from every socio-economic stratum so as to get a representative picture. Aggregate composition of surveyed families on some key dimensions is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Aggregate composition of surveyed families

Dimension Category No. of families surveyed
Type of resettlement Government site 299
Private site 130
Before displacement After displacement
Dominant economic activity Mainly land-owning farmers* 182 137
Small farmers** 86 33
Mainly farm labourers 127 212
Other means of skilled employment (self-employed, government employed, etc.) 22 19
Unskilled labourers (e.g. migrant factory labourers) 0 9
No means of employment 12 19
* Almost all exclusive land-owning farmers we surveyed were medium farmers, owning farmland in the range of 5-40 acres; Most of them can economically sustain their families without having to do any other work ** Small farmers are those owning less than 5 acre of (mostly non-irrigated) land; Most such families we surveyed were of very small farmers who also partially engage in farm labour work to sustain themselves

Families in all five government resettlement sites that we visited were originally residing in villages falling in submergence zone of ISP but located within 3-4 km of resettled sites. Most families in a particular resettled village have moved from the same original village (with same name as resettled one), except in case of Bhangarda where they have come from multiple villages (Borkheda Khurd, Baldi, Jalgaon, and others). In contrast, some families of privately resettled sites have moved from original (submergence) villages located as far as 30-40 km, especially those who lost all land and were keen to begin their lives afresh in a location that was more suitable among various possible options. However, in many cases, families preferred to resettle privately in a nearby location because some of their original land was saved from submergence whereas there was no government site at a convenient distance. Almost every private site that we visited is constituted by families from multiple submerged villages. This was expected as private sites formed in a more organic and less planned fashion than government sites.

One of the main reasons why some people accepted to live in government resettlement sites – some of which are located comfortably close to original (displaced) villages – is that part of their original land has not submerged, and thus, held them back. However, for many villages falling in submergence zone, the government resettlement sites were not located close enough to original location. Moreover, many government sites were inconvenient from the viewpoints of distance from nearest marketplace, distance from urban habitation, quality and price of land plots, availability of middle and high schools in the vicinity, and other basic facilities. Most displaced people who were offered to move to such government sites did not accept them and instead chose to resettle privately. In many cases the people were not offered any government site and therefore had no choice but to resettle privately.

III THE RESULTS: IMPACT ON DISPLACED PEOPLE

As can be seen from Table 1, there has been a decline in number of families of exclusive land-owning farmers (by about 25%) and even small farmers (by about 62%), and a sharp rise in the number of landless farm labourer families (by about 67%) in the surveyed sample. Numbers of families with unskilled non-farm labourers and unemployed adults have also increased. Thus, on the whole, while almost all families continue to remain economically dependent on agriculture, their economic status has deteriorated. Many previously exclusive

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land-owning farmers have now become small farmers, some of whom have to partially rely on labour work for sustaining their families. Many previously small farmers have now become landless labourers. More of those who still remain small farmers have to do more of farm labour work to sustain their families. Several have become unemployed.

Appendices A and B summarize our findings of surveys of government resettled sites and privately resettled sites, respectively. As can be seen from these appendices, there has been drastic change in several economic and non-economic indicators of livelihood, mostly for the worse. Moreover, nature and extent of such impacts are different for different categories of people. The following sub-sections present our analysis of these findings.

Agricultural lands lost

Most land-owning families have lost major share of their agricultural lands to submergence. As the rate of compensation for irrigated land has been at most half (in many regions, at most one-third) of the market rate, no family has been able to buy equivalent size of land after resettlement. For instance, among surveyed sample of previously land-owning farmer families (including both big-medium and small farmers), about 70% from Jhingadarh, 100% from Bhangarda, 34% from Chikli, 80% from Ambakhal, 70% from Jhagariya, and majority from Barud, Naya-Siwar, and Nagarbeda now own less than half of their previous farmland ownership. Many who were small or medium land-owning farmers earlier have now become partial labourers. Some of them have been rendered landless.

Therefore, income of most families has reduced significantly as almost all continue to be dependent exclusively on agriculture. Every surveyed farmer family from Bhangarda, Naya-Siwar, Barud, and Nagarbeda reported more than 50% decline in income. In Jhingadarh, Ambakhal, Jhagariya, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, and Hantiya, majority of farmer families reported more than 50% decline in income.

Employments lost

In our visits and interactions with villagers, it was evident that loss of agricultural lands leads to immediate impact on employment opportunities for members of communities that are directly dependent on farm related activities. Many villages have witnessed sharp fall in cumulative agricultural land ownership. For instance, land owned cumulatively by all families in Naya-Siwar and Nagerbeda has reduced by more than half. Another displaced village, Bhavarli, that we visited but have not included in this paper due to inadequate family level data, has seen about 90% reduction in cumulative agricultural land of residents.

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However the state government claims its resettlement site of Bhavarli, with semi-pucca roads, 5 public wells, electricity supply, and well laid out houses and streets, as one of model sites.

With decline in land ownership in a village, its land-owning farmers lose income due to fall in total agricultural output, and its landless farm labourers and small farmers who partially engage in farm labour work witness more drastic income reduction owing to fall in employment. The latter is a consequence of twin factors – (i) decrease in demand for farm labour work as total agricultural land in the village goes down, and (ii) drop in labour wage rate as labour supply far outstrips demand, a trend accelerated by increase in proportion of the landless. Along with decline in quantum, the demand for farm labour work also becomes more uncertain and variable, thereby inducing greater economic insecurity among labourer families. Moreover, demand for supporting kinds of employment (or self-employment), like tailoring, carpentry, and grocery shop, falls too because of general decline in purchasing capacity of families (consumers) living in such a village. This is what has happened with varying degree in all sites that we visited.

Population of landless or small land-owning labourers has increased significantly in Bhangarda, Ambakhal, and Jhagariya (among government sites), and in Barud, Naya-Siwar, Hantiya, and Nagarbeda (among private sites). Labourers in all these sites complained of severe reduction in farm labour work, from 15-25 days a month in original villages (predisplacement) to 2-9 days a month in locations near to resettled sites (post-displacement), as well as drop in wage rates. Labourers of Jhingadarh and Chikli reported relatively less severe but distinct decline in farm labour work and income. In all surveyed cases, labourer families reported at least 50% fall in average annual income.

Some resettlement sites have also witnessed fall in other kinds of employment that are sustained by proximate urban or semi-urban markets. These are the sites located inconveniently far from nearest urban or semi-urban centers in contrast with relatively greater proximity of original pre-displacement villages. This aspect is explained in more detail in the next sub-section.

Proximate markets and economic links lost

A village, in course of its organic evolution, builds numerous economic and social linkages with neighbouring regions. This results in economic dependence of the village community on neighbouring regions, especially nearest urban and semi-urban centers and local wholesale trading hubs of agricultural products. Such centers and hubs provide sustained markets for all nearby village communities to sell and buy various products and

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services. For instance, farmers of such villages sell agricultural produce, labourers seek a variety of daily wage work like those on construction sites, small-medium factories and shops, and other skilled and semi-skilled persons like tailors, barbers, carpenters, mechanics, rickshaw-pullers and others survive by selling their services in these markets.

Our survey brought out glaringly how people suffer acutely when they are displaced away from original villages located close and connected conveniently (via roads with well running public transport services) to nearest urban or semi-urban markets. We found that majority of government resettlement sites are not located conveniently from this viewpoint. For instance, government sites like Chikli and Bhavarli, though located within 3-4 km of original submerged locations, have become almost cut off from the town of Harsud on which their residents depended. While earlier Harsud was within 3 km of Chikli and Bhavarli, it is now about 60 km by road as the town and the villages have been relocated and expanding reservoir water has cut off previous road links. As Harsud is a town of more than 40,000 population, it had been an attractive market for residents of Chikli, Bhavarli and several other villages for generations. Most villagers frequently traveled to Harsud for economic activities and had grown to become strongly dependent on it. After displacement and resettlement, all such links have been destroyed. Now the nearest market is a semi-urban area called Chanera which is about 15 km from resettled sites of Chikli and Bhavarli, and farther from some other sites. However, Chanera is an old, small and saturated market which already has commercial links with neighbouring regions existing for generations. Therefore it is now extremely difficult for people of Chikli, Bhavarli and other sites in that region to build new economic links from the scratch.

Their plight is painfully exemplified by the case of a resident of Bhavarli who owned several cows and buffaloes and previously made his family’s living by selling milk to several residents of Harsud. After moving to the resettlement site, he has lost his entire customer base, been forced to sell off most cattle, gone into depression, and become addicted to drinking.

Other natural resources lost

People living in rural areas are dependent for livelihood on several natural resources besides land. They keep cattle (cows, buffaloes, goats) for milk and dung. Dung has multiple uses like manure for farmland and fuel for cooking. Various trees are grown by families in farmland and house-plot as sources for providing fruits, wood, herbal medicines, and shade. Wood is used as fuel for cooking as well as in construction of house and furniture. In addition, there are trees, bushes and grassland in the common land of a village, part of which is often

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used for grazing by animals and for collecting wood and twigs as fuel by people. Many submerged villages of ISP also had the benefit of being proximate to forests which were a constant source of wood and other useful livelihood inputs. Finally, there are public wells situated in common village land which are used by everyone to source water for drinking, bathing, washing and other activities.

Such natural resources are often used by both land-owning and landless families. However they are a lifeline to the latter. Landless people of a village are critically dependent on common resources like trees, wells and grazing land for everyday living. In addition, they may also be permitted by land-owning families to collect wood, dung and other resources from their land. Landless people have access to these critical resources, which they do not own themselves, due to the close network of economic and social relationships that they maintain with rest of the village. Such relationships are built and sustained in a village over generations. These relationships have been cut off due to displacement and dispersion of a village into various displacement sites. In addition, villages in all sites that we visited have experienced dramatic reduction in all such natural resources after displacement and resettlement. While privately owned resources have depleted significantly, common resources are almost fully lost.

Among surveyed families, privately owned useful trees have almost finished in Jhingadarh, Chikli, Ambakhal, Naya-Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, and Nagarbeda. In Bhangarda, Jhagariya, Barud, and Hantiya, they have depleted by 65-80%. Before displacement, while landless families owned few trees, land-owning families owned many trees. For instance, average number of trees per surveyed family, before displacement, was about 21 in Dinkarpura, 12 in Ambakhal, 6 in Nagarbeda, 3 in Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road and Hantiya, and 2 in Jhingadarh. Although people will privately grow trees over time in resettlement sites, it is likely to take many years to rebuild the original resource base.

Almost all forest land in that region has been lost to submergence, suddenly cutting off an important source of regular supply of wood and other inputs. None of the resettlement sites, including government ones, has any common land for grazing. Absence of grazing land and worsened economic condition has forced many families to sell off majority of their cattle. As a result, cattle population in almost all surveyed villages has come down steeply. Among all surveyed families, it has reduced by more than 80% in Bhangarda and Barud, and by about 60% in Ambakhal, 2-3 years after displacement. In these villages, majority of surveyed people were landless or small farmers before displacement and most of them have become landless now, with severely adverse effects on economic status. Cattle population owned by

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surveyed families of Jhagariya, Naya Siwar, Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya, and Nagarbeda has fallen by 30-50%, 2-3 years after displacement. Surveyed samples in these villages have also witnessed an increase in number of landless labourers and significant reduction in land owned by farmers. This indicates that, while almost all displaced families now find it difficult to maintain cattle at previous level of ownership, landless and small farmer families have faced severest hardship in this regard too. Loss of cattle has, in turn, made life extremely difficult for such families as their supply of dung and milk has almost disappeared.

Health status lost

Incidents of health problems were reported by some families in all surveyed sites except Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Dinkarpura, and Hantiya. Almost all surveyed families in these three sites are land-owning farmers and most of then have been able to purchase new land after displacement.

Commonly reported health problems were stomach problems, fever, malaria, and psychological depression and stress. In Ambakhal, an overwhelming majority (about 90%) of surveyed families complained of such problems, probably due to stagnant water-logging near the settlement as a result of expanding reservoir backwaters. In other sites, 15-35% of surveyed families reported such health problems. In all sites, common causes of declining health appeared to be as follows:

  • Absence of clean drinking water, especially for those who cannot afford private wells,
  • Absence of pucca roads and drainage system in the village, resulting in water-logged roads and increased mosquitoes especially in rainy season,
  • Deterioration of food and nutrition intake due to worsened economic condition, especially among landless and very small farmer families, and
  • General increase in levels of depression and stress due to worsened economic condition and insecurity, especially among landless and very small farmer families.
  • Almost none of the surveyed sites, including the government ones, has primary health center. One site (Chikli) has a private doctor, but we could not assess his accessibility and affordability to the landless families. In many of the privately resettled sites (where people have chosen to resettle close to an already established village), primary health centers exist in neighbouring villages. But again we could not properly assess accessibility of resettled families, especially the landless, to those facilities.

    Such deterioration of health among members of some landless families, and threat of it among others, has both added to their economic burden and made it more difficult for them to actively seek work in farther places.

    Educational opportunities for children lost

    The government resettlement sites that we visited have primary school. But private sites do not. In some private sites, like Hantiya, the nearest primary school is more than 3-4 km, and therefore some children have been dropped out. Other private sites that we visited had a primary school nearby, so most children still go to school. In one private site, Barud, comprising mainly landless labourers, economic constraint was cited as the main reason for withdrawing children from primary school.

    More children have dropped out from middle and high schools as many sites are not located at convenient distance from such schools. For instance, government site of Chikli, and private sites of Barud, Naya-Siwar, Hantiya, and Dinkarpura have witnessed withdrawal of some children from middle and high schools. In Barud, more than 50% of surveyed families reported dropping out of previously school-going children. In other places, 10-18% of surveyed families reported such cases. Most children who dropped out due to inconvenient distance are girls. Even several among those still going to school are reported to be irregular by the parents. Economic hardship has been an additional reason for withdrawing children from school, especially among landless and very small farmer families like many of Barud residents and a few of Bhangarda.

    In cases where there is no middle or high school at convenient distance, for instance in Siwar-Bhagwanpura Road, Hantiya and Nagarbeda, some children have been sent by parents to live with relatives in other places where these schools exist. But this option could be exercised by those who could afford it, mainly land-owning farmers.

    Before displacement, most of the children who have now dropped out were going to school because middle and high schools were not too far. With cities like Harsud and some semi-urban locations within commutable distance from original villages, parents had advantage of both proximity and choice of multiple schools for their children.

    It is not clear if the dropped out children can get back to school in the near future. This is because the two main reasons – economic hardship of parents and distance of school from village – are not likely to disappear soon. Needless to say, children of landless and very small farmer families have been the main sufferers.

    Community and family relationships lost

    The most evident non-quantifiable impact of displacement that we observed from interactions with villagers has been the souring or breaking down of relationships – between various community sections in a village, between households, between families in the same household, and between members of the same family. Although this impact is not observed in every family, it is clearly evident that atmosphere of mistrust has increased with varying degrees in almost all villages that we visited. We could assess three possible causes of this impact:

  • Process of estimation and disbursal of cash compensation for a village was severely affected by rampant corruption, nexus between district/block level officials and powerful vested interests in the village, and lack of timely and complete communication of correct information related to rehabilitation package and rights of various sections of affected population,
  • General reduction in land holding and economic status of farmers, leading to shortage of farm labour demand and tightening of labour wages, subsequently deepening the alienation between families of land-owning farmers and landless labourers, and
  • Cash compensation for assets lost in submergence was, in most cases, estimated and disbursed at the level of households, resulting in disagreement among various families and members of the household (who jointly used the assets) concerning utilization of compensation, and subsequent divisions.
  • From our discussions with various villagers it became clear that the process of estimating and disbursing compensation for privately owned assets like agricultural land, house, wells, and trees was mired in the mess of corruption, manipulation, and misinformation. Almost every village has a few persons with influence but divisive vested interest who go out of the way to forge manipulative nexus with authorities like district/block level officials who are vulnerable to corruption, especially when there are opportunities to make money. Such opportunities often arise in form of rural development or welfare schemes of the state which involve allocation and disbursal of large funds. Estimation and disbursal of compensation and special grants as part ISP’s R&R package was one such opportunity. The entire process was sabotaged by the nexus of vested interests involving persons from the levels of districts down to villages. This resulted in an atmosphere of utter mistrust, lack of correct information, and rumour mongering in almost every village that was covered under submergence and R&R scheme. Corruption seeped at all stages – decisions of inclusion/exclusion of specific pieces of lands, houses, wells and trees; classification of a piece of agricultural land as irrigated or non-irrigated; classification of a house as pucca or kuchcha; measurement of areas of agricultural lands and houses; accounting of wells and trees; classification of a person as adult or non-adult; and finally, disbursal of funds. We were narrated countless stories of how a few influential persons of a village ganged up to garner undue benefits for themselves whereas majority of others, especially the landless and small farmers, had to pay bribes and run from pillar to post for getting even what was due to them. Hardest hit by corruption have been communities from lower castes and tribes. All this experience has left bitter relationships between different households and sections of communities in resettled villages.

    As explained in the first two sub-sections of this section, while, in general, the land holding and economic condition of land-owning farmers has gone down perceptibly, the economic condition of very small farmers and the landless has taken the biggest hit after displacement. The latter category of families, who were already surviving on the margins, has been further pushed to the brink. As cumulative land ownership of all farmers of a village has fallen, so has the demand for farm labour work. As economics of land-owning farmers has become squeezed, they are under pressure to cut costs. With supply of labour far exceeding demand, wages for all kinds of farm labour work have been squeezed. In addition, the demand for farm labour work has become more fluctuating and uncertain. Post displacement, a landless labourer is much more uncertain at the beginning of a month about whether or for how many days he will get work during the month, than what he/she used to be before displacement. Thus, on the one hand, desperate competition among landless labourers has increased (while they continue to live as neighbours). On the other hand, many are contemplating in distress (and some have already begun) to migrate to other places, though not sure of where and how much they will get work. This scenario has only added to mutual animosity and gulf between the poor and better off communities and castes within a village.

    In most cases, the common assets of a household like agricultural land, house, wells, trees and others are used and their outputs shared by all families and members living in it, even though an asset might be registered in the name of only one or few members. This is a common practice in rural households in India. It helps to bind members of different families of a household as a close knit unit, and is an important way of providing both economic and social security to the members. Therefore, while on paper the compensation for assets lost to submergence was given in the name of ‘official’ owners, it rightly belonged to all families of the household. However, since all compensation was given as cash, different families of a household rarely agreed on a common way of utilizing or investing the money. In cases of

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    unresolved disagreements, which we observed in majority of households, different families of a household preferred to part ways with their share of cash. We heard many such stories of differences between brothers, between father and sons, and between brothers and married sisters. In most such cases, even when total amount of compensation was large, divided share of a particular family was not large enough to make adequate investment in productive assets. Moreover, as different families decided to part ways with their share of cash, in several cases they also moved to live separately after displacement. Thus, households as units of living in a village became worse off after displacement on both economic and social aspects. All such experiences have generated long lasting bitterness in family relationships in many households. Besides deterioration in economic condition, the social and psychological security derived from living in large close-knit households has dissipated too.

    Infrastructure and development status in resettled sites

    In general, government resettlement sites are better than private sites on aspects of village level infrastructure like common/public area in a village, roads, electricity, water wells, primary school, and some community level facilities like building for gram panchayat. However, the number and quality of these amenities vary widely across different government sites. For instance, at the one end, Bhavarli and Chikli have semi-pucca roads, 4-5 public wells, electricity wires (though with irregular supply), and primary school. A drainage system is under construction in Bhavarli. At the other end, Jhingadarh has scarce piped water supply, no public well, roads or drainage system; Bhangarda has no public well, piped water or drainage system; Jhagariya has no roads or drainage system; and Ambakhal has no roads, electricity, water (wells or pipes) or drainage system.

    Privately resettled sites have much worse infrastructure. As people have self settled, none of these sites – Barud, Naya Siwar, Siwar – Bhagwanrpura Road, Hantiya, Dinkarpura, and Nagarbeda – have roads, water (wells or pipes), electricity, and drainage system. Living and moving around the village becomes a health hazard, especially in rainy season. Absence of indigenous drinking water source has forced residents to often go through huge physical inconvenience, and sometimes through mental harassment, to fetch water from other sources like public wells in a neighbouring village or wells located in private farmlands. Many people complained that health problems have increased due to both absence of roads and scarcity of clean drinking water. Moreover, people resettled in private sites face hostility from neighbouring host communities. Host communities see them as unwelcome intruders who tend to share their resources like water, trees, grazing land, schools and primary health care facilities, and compete with them locally for labour work and other employments.

    Despite worse expectation of public infrastructure in private sites and hostility of host villages, majority of displaced people have not resettled in government sites. As discussed in section 2, there were few government sites on offer, and many of them were not attractive on the criteria more fundamentally related to livelihood, like proximity to non-submerged part of original farmland, proximity to markets, accessibility to major roads, and price of land for potential purchase. Families who decided to resettle privately could choose relatively better locations on these criteria from a much larger set of options.

    Even in the government sites such as Bhavarli and Chikli which have better infrastructure facilities than the rest, the villagers – both land-owning farmer and landless families – have witnessed significant erosion of economic condition and resource base due to reasons explicated in sub-sections 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4. This economic erosion in these ‘model’ government sites is not significantly different from the erosion we observed in other government and private sites. It is for this reason that most residents of Bhavarli and Chikli too felt highly dissatisfied and deprived by the state government despite having better infrastructure facilities in their village.

    IV CONCLUSION

    In our survey of 429 families (out of a total of more than 30,000 households accounting for much more than a lakh people) displaced due to ISP, we found that living standard of every single family has deteriorated after the R&R process. The cash compensation and SRG package has been grossly insufficient to help families make adequate productive investments. Most of government resettlement sites lack basic amenities like access to markets and employment opportunities, proximity to affordable and cultivable land and forests, availability of trees, grazing land for cattle, infrastructure of proper roads, drainage, and in some cases, clean water supply. Inability of the state to provide decent resettlement sites is the reason that majority of oustees chose to resettle privately. While government sites are slightly better on aspects of roads, water and electricity supply, many privately resettled sites fare slightly better on more fundamental economic aspects like proximity to markets and relatively favourable price of land. However, most private sites do not have even basic infrastructure of roads, water, electricity and primary school. Moreover, oustees resettled in

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    private sites face hostility from neighbouring host community whose resources (like water, trees, grazing land, schools, primary health care facilities) they share and with whom they compete locally for labour work and other employments. On the whole, we did not observe any significant difference in the extent of deterioration in standard of living between those settled privately and in government sites. No family covered in the survey has been able to rebuild its lost livelihood even after 2-4 years of displacement and resettlement.

    Most farmers have lost substantial farmland to submergence but could purchase at best a small fraction of it. Several small farmers have become either landless labourers or more dependent on farm labour work to supplement insufficient income from farming. The landless labourers, who comprise overwhelming majority of oustees, have been pushed further to the brink of precarious survival.

    The cash received as compensation for lost assets like land was much less (by at least 50%) than prevailing market rates. Cash received as SRG too was not sufficient to invest in any major productive asset. In the end, most of compensation and SRG money was spent by the people in multiple contingencies like purchase of new house-plot, construction of new house, paying off all or part of old debt, and meeting running expense of families suddenly trapped in a situation of drastic reduction in farm output and labour demand which has been continuing with same severity even after 2-4 years of resettlement. Farm labourers’ incomes have fallen sharply and become more uncertain as both farm labour demand and wage rates have been squeezed. Adults of labourer families are not sure at the beginning of a week if they would be able to support family through the week. In majority of resettled villages, a labourer now does not hope to get work for more than one-third of a month, whereas finding work was not this difficult earlier. As economic hardship has deepened and common grazing land is not available, almost all families have been forced to sell off all or part of their cattle. Some children, especially girls, have been withdrawn from schools. Health problems, including physical illness and psychological depression, have increased. We observed that due to economic distress, seasonal migrations have become common, some landless families have begun to migrate for the long haul, and more are contemplating longer-term migration. The irony is that people are not sure which would be a good place to migrate and whether their economic condition will improve after that.

    The hopeless situation that we encountered village after village and family after family forced us to think what alternative R&R package could have been appropriate. After our experience we have become convinced of two things. First, the amount of cash offered as compensation and SRG was highly insufficient to make any productive investment required

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    to rebuild a livelihood. Second, though cash can be a useful component of compensation package, it cannot suffice as the main or only component. The second point becomes crucial in the special context of displacement as in case of ISP oustees. The context is that of a person, who has rarely seen even a few thousand rupees cash at a time, being suddenly handed over cash worth tens of thousand rupees (or even a few lakh), and thrust with the contingency of making fundamental livelihood decisions in the midst of local environment marked by high level of mistrust, misinformation and corruption, and surrounded by several goons, middlemen, money-lenders and marketers ready to pounce at the slightest opportunity to make money at others’ expense. Few of us can take cool-headed, rational decisions in such a context.

    Now that the dust has settled down and their daily lives have stabilized at a worse level of struggle than before, everyone is ruing about what happened. In retrospect, almost everyone we met feels they must have got land for land. When people, whose main skill and knowledge base is in agriculture, are suddenly uprooted from agricultural assets and resources, there are only two ways to rebuild the lost livelihoods. Either they get back good quality agricultural assets (i.e. cultivable and irrigated lands along with peripheral support systems) which they can harness with the skill and knowledge they already possess. Or they are provided with alternate productive assets with potentially attractive markets and granted sufficient material support and cushion of time to train themselves in acquiring new skill and knowledge base required to operate new assets economically, source new inputs, market new outputs, and begin lives afresh.

    In the case of ISP, other dams on Narmada, and other development projects that displace local people who are mostly underprivileged, a robust R&R policy should have at least the following components:

    • Project approval linked to R&R implementation and performance. This must be nonnegotiable because unless the stakes of policymakers and project owners are linked to granting full justice to potential oustees, the R&R implementation will not receive desired level of commitment. Thus project approval must be linked to not only implementation but also outcome of R&R. Before clearing a project, there must be visible signs that the process of rebuilding livelihoods of affected people is on track. Since it may take at least 2-3 years for such signs to emerge even in case of best possible R&R, the design and implementation of R&R as part of a project’s approval process should be appropriately phased in time. This is not a problem as preparatory lead time for most such projects in much longer (it was about 20 years in case of ISP).

    • Comprehensive design of R&R package aimed explicitly at rebuilding livelihoods. R&R package must contain various elements that are critical for rebuilding lost livelihoods of displaced families. These must include: ¾ Non-cash elements like investment in productive assets such as adequate size of cultivable and irrigated farmland for each family (this size should have a minimum fixed component sufficient for sustaining a family and a variable component proportional to lost land), provision of wide choice to a family with respect to location of new farmland and house-plot, selection of resettlement sites based on proximity and access to markets and urban or semi-urban habitations, provision of appropriate training in case a family wishes to make its investment in a productive asset or skill other than agricultural land, provision of good quality infrastructure in and around resettlement sites like primary/middle/high schools, primary health centers, pucca roads, drainage, electricity distribution and communication systems, and availability of grazing land and natural resources like forests, and

    ¾ Cash element similar to SRG but higher enough amount which can be used by a family towards exercising its choice while making new productive investments besides taking care of financial and other contingencies. The cash element of R&R package must take care of three fundamental needs of a family that is trying to pick pieces and rebuild livelihood from the scratch – (i) begin on a clean base (pay off past debt, buy house-plot and rebuild new house), (ii) make fresh productive investments (for example, new cattle, land, skills, equipments, grocery shop, other manufacturing/service units, etc.), and (iii) have reasonable savings for the future. Bank account must be opened for each family in the location of its resettlement so that it can save money.

  • Robust measures of R&R performance. Performance of R&R implementation must be measured on a set of indicators that gives a reliable idea if, after 2-3 years, a family is on an irreversible track towards rebuilding its livelihood. Such a set should include measures like family’s net annual income; change in annual income compared to pre-displacement years as well as over the past 2-3 years; whether current sources of income are sustainable in the long run; market value of family assets/resources including farmland, house-plot, house, trees, animals and others; change in value of such assets/resources compared to
  • pre-displacement years; whether some adults need to temporarily migrate under economic distress; whether all children above 4 years go to school; whether family members have easy access to primary health care center, clean water, pucca roads, electricity, communication, and natural resources like river and forests; whether animals have easy access to sufficient grazing land.
  • Participation of affected people in R&R design and approval. A longer-term solution is to establish a democratic mechanism that necessitates participation of project affected people in the processes of design of R&R package, its approval, implementation and performance monitoring. There must be a system to ensure that, once R&R implementation is underway, periodic certification of its satisfactory performance is taken from the affected people before proceeding further, and they, if not satisfied, have the authority to rescind project approval. Representatives of gram panchayats as well as of the landless and small-land-owning people need to be involved in all this. Our observation has been that gram panchayats are often controlled by land-owning and influential sections whereas majority of villagers are often the landless labourers and very small farmers. Hence adequate representation of the latter sections is crucial. Such kind of democratic mechanism is the only long-term antidote to existing centralized decisionmaking processes which, by definition, are controlled by individuals who, even if not bad-intentioned, are often alienated from the ground reality and have visceral suspicion for the ordinary people. Such alienation is the main reason that the authorities, far from being sensitive to concerns of people facing submergence due to ISP, used brutal force to evict many of them and demolish their houses even when no R&R was in place. Only a democratic process of R&R design, approval and monitoring, and its linkage to project clearance, can bring the most essential element, i.e. sensitivity towards oustees, at the core of R&R’s guiding principle. As India, in its ongoing phase of rapid industrial investment, is likely to witness an even
  • greater surge in projects like SSP, ISP, Singur, and Nandigram-type SEZs in the near future, livelihoods of at least a few million people are at stake. In order that these people are not further marginalized and pushed to limits of hopelessness, it is imperative for the government to establish a robust R&R policy. Such a policy, like the one on rural employment guarantee, should be seen as an integral part of a comprehensive social security system that India urgently needs to put in place to allow marginalized populations – the rural landless, small farmers, urban slum-dwellers, dalit and tribal people – the luxury of a safety valve for mitigating potentially devastating effects of ruthless industrialization and GDP growth. In addition to having such a social security system, if we are somehow able to redesign core economic policies that re-channel investments so as to make deprived people explicitly participate in new economic activities and reap fruits of growth, and simultaneously reduce distress migration and preserve ecosystems, what else would be left to do in the name of ‘inclusive economic development’?

    I. RESETTLED VILLAGE: JHINGADARH

    Original villages from which people have shifted: Mostly from Jhingadarh Number of families surveyed: 55 Total number of members in surveyed families: 205

    Appendix A: Village wise survey details of government resettled sites

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of income (break-up of families) Farming: 32 Farm labour: 17 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 1 None: 5 Farming: 32 Farm labour: 17 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 1 None: 5 For most farming families, area of agricultural land has reduced in the range of 0-90%, thereby reducing family income; About 22 (or 70% of) farmer families lost more than 50% of land; For labourer families, farm labour work has reduced in quantum and become more uncertain, thereby rendering them more economically vulnerable
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 49 Total kuchcha houses: 15 Total pucca houses: 35 Total kuchcha houses: 9 For most families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; Water pipeline available Scarcity of drinking water is among the most cited complaints of the villagers; Although water pipeline has been constructed, water supply is scant
    Health Normal 10 families (or about 20%) complained worsening of members’ health Several incidents of fever, malaria and stomach problems reported; Villagers suspect that large stagnant water body within 20 meters of an end of the village habitation, accumulated for more than a month due to monsoon-induced expansion of reservoir, is leading to health problems
    Cattle** 210 185 Cattle population has reduced due to decline in grazing land
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 117 0 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2 years ago, none of them have trees
    Schools for children Most children go to school Most children go to school Resettled village has a government primary school like the previous village; Middle and high schools are also nearby like in the previous village
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families
    Village level issues in Jhingadarh resettlement site:

    Major problems: Two most cited concerns of the people are: (a) water scarcity and (b) water logging due to reservoir backwater reaching the habitation during monsoon periods. The former problem has made their lives a daily struggle. The latter poses alarm of forthcoming problems of health and other inconveniences. Stagnant backwater has surrounded the village from three sides. Elders have to walk through over 20 meters of neck-deep stagnant water to go to their farm land or escort cattle for grazing. Mosquitoes have increased and people have already witnessed increase in various health problems.

    Infrastructure: There are no roads or drainage system constructed in the village, despite commitment by the government to do so as part of the rehabilitation plan. Although water pipeline exists, villagers complained that water supply is scarce. Electricity supply is irregular.

    II. RESETTLED VILLAGE: BHANGARDA

    Original villages from which people have shifted: From Borkheda Khurd, Borkheda, Khudiya, Baldi, Jalgaon, Jamkota, Segnan, Jalwan Mofi, Jhapgaon, and others Number of families surveyed: 73 Total number of members in surveyed families: 350

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of Mainly farming: 4 Mainly farming: 0 For most farming families(big or small), most
    income Small farming + Small farming + agricultural land has been submerged, thereby
    (break-up of labour: 42 labour: 2 reducing family income significantly;
    families) Farm labour: 17 Skilled labour or selfemployed or government employed: 9 None: 1 Farm labour: 64 Skilled labour or selfemployed or government employed: 6 None: 1 Since adults of most families were originally small or marginal farmers, they have now become mainly labourers; For labourer families, farm labour work has reduced drastically in quantum and become more uncertain, while number of labourers has increased, thereby rendering them extremely economically vulnerable; Most labourers complained of scarcity of work
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 10 Total kuchcha houses: 67 Total pucca houses: 54 Total kuchcha houses: 5 Tin shed: 5 Most families have built pucca houses (though small) from the compensation and grant amount; For some families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking Public wells available No public wells in the Acute scarcity of drinking water in resettled site
    water village; No piped water supply
    Health Normal 25 families (or about 34%) complained worsening of members’ health Several incidents of fever, malaria and stomach problems reported; Villagers suspect that main causes for increased illness are unclean water and starvation induced by economic problems
    Cattle** 193 21 Cattle population has reduced drastically due to absence of grazing land in resettled site and worsening of economic condition of villagers
    Fruit-bearing 88 31 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses
    and other less than 2 years ago, few have trees;
    useful trees+ Even most of existing trees are newly planted, hence small
    Schools for Most children go to Most children go to Resettled village has a government primary school
    children school school like the previous village; Middle and high schools are also nearby like in the previous village; A few families claim to have dropped children out of school due to economic reasons
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families
    Village level issues in Bhangarda resettlement site:

    Major problems: The most cited concern of the people is a drastic decline in work for labour and rise in unemployment, resulting in worsening of economic condition. This has made their lives a daily struggle. Most adults are labourers and do not get enough work locally. Due to increase in labour supply, the actual wage rates have also decreased. Economic hardship is also leading to other problems like those related to health.

    In addition, the Bhangarda resettlement site is on a rocky land due to which the houses do not have proper foundation and are vulnerable to damage.

    Infrastructure: There are no water supply and drainage systems constructed in the village, despite commitment by the government to do so as part of the rehabilitation plan. The village has pucca roads and electricity supply.

    III. RESETTLED VILLAGE: CHIKLI

    Original villages from which people have shifted: Mostly from Chikli Number of families surveyed: 60 Total number of members in surveyed families: 210

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of income (breakup of families) Mainly farming: 53 Small farming + labour: 3 Farm labour: 2 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 2 Mainly farming: 34 Small farming + labour: 8 Farm labour: 4 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 1 Unemployed: 6 Migrated out: 7 For farming families, area of agricultural land has reduced in the range of 0-100%, thereby reducing family income; About 18 (or 34% of) farmer families lost more than 50% of land; For labourer families, farm labour work has reduced in quantum and become more uncertain, thereby rendering them more economically vulnerable
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 26 Total kuchcha houses: 15 Total pucca houses: 25 Total kuchcha houses: 7 Most families have built pucca houses (though small) from the compensation and grant amount; For some families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking water Public wells available Public wells constructed; No piped water supply -
    Health Normal 9 families (or about 15%) complained worsening of members’ health Some incidents of fever, malaria, cikangunya, and stomach problems reported
    Cattle** 133 109 Grazing land for cattle has reduced drastically
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 58 2 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2 years ago, almost none has trees
    Schools for children Most children went to school Some have dropped out; 9 families (or 15%) reported having dropped their children out of school Resettled village has a government primary school like the previous village; However, middle and high schools are far away, unlike in the original village where they were nearby; Increased commuting distance is the main reason cited for dropping some children out of middle and high schools
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families
    Village level issues in Chikli resettlement site:

    Major problems: The most cited concerns of the people are (a) worsening of their economic condition due to significant decline in agricultural land holding of farmers, and (b) unavailability of middle and high schools for children in the vicinity of resettled site. Unemployment and partial or underemployment has increased. Several families said that they are still staying in resettled site because they are farming on original land which will fully submerge only after another year, and that they may contemplate migrating out after that.

    Infrastructure: Semi-pucca road and water wells have been constructed as part of the rehabilitation plan. Electricity supply is very irregular and inadequate.

    IV. RESETTLED VILLAGE: AMBAKHAL

    Original villages from which people have shifted: Mostly from Ambakhal Number of families surveyed: 29 Total number of members in surveyed families: 152

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of income (breakup of families) Mainly farming: 17 Small farming + labour: 4 Farm labour: 7 None: 1 Mainly farming: 6 Small farming + labour: 9 Farm labour: 13 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 1 For farming families, area of agricultural land has reduced in the range of 30-100%, thereby reducing family income; About 16 (or 80% of) farmer families lost more than 50% of land; Several families who could previously sustain on mainly farming are now forced to become partial or full-time labourers; For labourer families, farm labour work has reduced in quantum and become more uncertain, thereby rendering them more economically vulnerable
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 28 Total kuchcha houses: 15 Total pucca houses: 24 Total kuchcha houses: 4 Most families have built pucca houses (though small) from the compensation and grant amount; For some families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water in resettled site
    Health Normal 26 families (or about 90%) complained worsening of members’ health Some incidents of fever, malaria, and stomach problems reported; Villagers suspect rise in mosquitoes and absence of clean water and drainage facilities as main causes of health problems; Stagnant water-logging near the village due to rising reservoir has added to these problem
    Cattle** 386 153 Cattle population has reduced due to decline in grazing land and worsening economic condition of villagers
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 354 0 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2 years ago, none has trees
    Schools for children Most children went to school Most children go to school Resettled village has a government primary school like the previous village; Middle and high schools are also nearby like in the previous village
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families
    Village level issues in Ambakhal resettlement site:

    Major problems: The most cited concerns of the people are (a) worsening of their economic condition due to significant decline in agricultural land holding of farmers and reduction in farm work for labourers, (b) absence of drinking public water facility in the village, and (c) occurrence of waterlogging near the village due to which people face difficulty while going to their fields. Increasing incidence of health problems is also linked to these.

    Infrastructure: There are no pucca roads, water supply, electricity supply, or drainage systems constructed in the village, despite commitment by the government to do so as part of the rehabilitation plan.

    V. RESETTLED VILLAGE: JHAGARIYA

    Original villages from which people have shifted: Mostly from Jhagariya Number of families surveyed: 82 Total number of members in surveyed families: 358

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of income (breakup of families) Mainly farming: 14 Small farming + labour: 9 Farm labour: 49 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 6 None: 4 Mainly farming: 10 Small farming + labour: 6 Farm labour: 55 Skilled labour or selfemployed or government employed: 5 Unemployed: 2 None: 4 For farming families, area of agricultural land has reduced in the range of 0-100%, thereby reducing family income significantly; About 16 (or 70% of) farmer families lost more than 50% of land; Several families who could previously sustain on mainly farming are now forced to become partial or full-time labourers; For labourer families, farm labour work has reduced in quantum and become more uncertain, thereby rendering them more economically vulnerable
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 24 Total kuchcha houses: 43 Total pucca houses: 64 Total kuchcha houses: 6 Most families have built pucca houses (though small) from the compensation and grant amount
    Drinking water Public wells available Public wells constructed -
    Health Normal 12 families (or about 15%) complained worsening of members’ health Some incidents of fever, malaria, and stomach problems reported
    Cattle** 126 90 Cattle population has reduced due to decline in grazing land and worsening economic condition of villagers
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 55 16 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 3 years ago, most do not have trees
    Schools for children Most children went to school Most children go to school Resettled village has a government primary school like the previous village; Middle and high schools are also nearby like in the previous village
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families
    Village level issues in Jhagariya resettlement site:

    Major problems: The most cited concerns of the people are (a) worsening of their economic condition due to significant decline in agricultural land holding of farmers and reduction in farm work for labourers, (b) threat of re-submergence now that water level with increased reservoir height may reach the site, though it has been left out of the surveys conducted to re-assess new submergence regions.

    Infrastructure: There are no pucca roads or drainage systems constructed in the village, despite commitment by the government to do so as part of the rehabilitation plan. The village has electricity supply.

    Observations common to all five government resettled sites:

    How the compensation and grant amount has been used:

    Most families spent all or major portion of their compensation and grant on at least one of the following: (a) purchase of house plot, (b) construction of house, (c) paying off whole or part of debts,

    (d) meeting running expenses of the household. Some families of every displaced village have also purchased motorcycles. Many people in these sites confirmed that the region of displaced villages has witnessed a record sale of motorcycles. Trailer-full of motorcycles of some prominent companies like Hero Honda were transported to the region to capitalize on the new found liquidity of the people. However, several motorcycle buyers also reported that, with high petrol prices and maintenance costs, they are now finding it difficult to maintain them. Many people also admitted that some of the money was spent in unproductive habits like liquor consumption. Country liquor sales, like motorcycles, too have been rampant in these regions. Most families have been unable to purchase new agricultural land as the market price of land is more than two or three times the amount received as compensation for submerged land.

    In overwhelming majority of families, the only durable asset purchased from compensation and grant money is new house (small pucca houses in most cases, kuchcha houses in some). No productive asset (like agricultural land or shop or tools/equipments useful for employable or entrepreneurial work) could be purchased because of two reasons: (i) most importantly, the compensation amount given for submerged land was much less than the market rate of agricultural land, (ii) in many cases, different families (for instance, different adult brother and sisters) in a shared household did not agree on a common investment or use of compensation money (which was for the land actually shared by more than one families) and preferred to divide the money among them and each used its share differently; in most cases, such divided share of a family was insufficient for making a productive investment, and

    (iii) most families (who were small farmers or labourers) had rarely seen even this amount of cash at one moment, and could not decide on its more rational use in the midst of atmosphere full of mistrust, corrupt government officials and middlemen, private rent-seekers like money lenders and landlords, and aggressive marketers of country liquors and motorcycles.

    Outstanding complaints related to compensation or grant:

    Many families complained that they received either (a) no or less grant, despite having a kuchcha or pucca house, or (b) less compensation than what was due as per submerged area of land and other assets like trees and wells. Most families complained of rampant corruption in the processes of measuring area of land, classifying land as irrigated or non-irrigated, measuring area and type of original house, and disbursal of compensation and grant.

    Of the surveyed families, 21 (out of 55) from Jhingadarh, 51 (out of 73) from Bhangarda, 8(out of 60) from Chikli, 9 (out of 29) from Ambakhal, and 40 (out of 82) from Jhagariya complained of receiving less grant or less compensation than what was due to them.

    Although everyone complained that the compensation amount for land and other assets was much less than the market rate, most said that even if the amount was higher their first preference would have been for getting equivalent agricultural land in lieu of lost land. They felt that the asset of agricultural land matches well with their skills and knowledge, whereas they are not well equipped to invest cash compensation in a long term productive undertaking. Even the landless people (labourers) said they would have preferred agricultural land for compensation. Everyone felt that this would have been the only way to quickly rebuild their lost economic status and improve their livelihood.

    Appendix B: Village wise survey details of privately (self) resettled sites

    I. RESETTLED VILLAGE: BARUD

    Original villages from which people have shifted: From Gulas, Jabgaon, Khudia, Chuchrel, Gannor, Harsud, Navghata, Borkheda, Baldi, and others Number of families surveyed: 41 Total number of members in surveyed families: 161

    Background: Almost all families who have moved to re-settle privately in Barud are labourers. They came to Barud about 3-4 years ago, from various villages of submergence zone. They bought their respective plots privately from the same person who previous owned the entire land in which Barud re-settlement habitation of about 300 families living in 100 houses now exists. During the year of displacement he advertised and sold 20X50 ft. plots at Rs. 11,000 each.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of income (break-up of families) Mainly farming: 0 Small farming and labour: 4 Farm labour: 35 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 2 Mainly farming: 0 Small farming and labour: 2 Farm labour: 39 Skilled labour or selfemployed or government employed: 0 Most families who have privately settled in Barud were previously farm labourers; Farm labour work has reduced in quantum and become more uncertain, and wage rates have dropped owing to increased labour supply locally, thereby rendering these families extremely economically vulnerable
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 1 Total kuchcha houses: 30 Total pucca houses: 17 Total kuchcha houses: 10 Most families have built pucca houses (though small) from the compensation and grant amount
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water is a common problem faced by villagers; A nearby village has wells but its residents do not fully welcome resettled labour families of Barud to draw water there
    Health Normal No hospital or doctor nearby; Some adults complained of suffering from mental stress due to economic problems General symptoms of depression among people due to economic crisis
    Cattle** 153 23 Cattle population has reduced drastically due to severe economic constraints of families (to maintain cattle) and absence of grazing land
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 51 13 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2-3 years ago, only a few have trees
    Schools for children Most children went to school Majority of children (more than 50% of those who were previously going to school) have dropped out All families cited economic constraint as the main reason for dropping out their children from school
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families

    Village level issues in Barud resettlement site:

    Major problems: Most cited concerns of the people are: (a) little labour work available locally and hence many people have to travel far away in certain seasons for work, sometimes more than 100

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    kms, (b) absence of drinking water well, and (c) absence of other basic amenities like drainage, sanitation, road and electricity. These problems have made their lives full of daily struggle, uncertainty and insecurity.

    Residents of Barud re-settled site mentioned that they hardly get more than 3-4 days of farm labour work in a month. For most of farm labour work they get about Rs. 25-30 a day, whereas in original villages before displacement the rates were higher. In order to seek better paid and stable work, most adults travel to Chanera (9 km), Harda (60 km) or Hoshangabad (100 km) during harvesting months of wheat and soyabean. Most of work under NREGA is given to the residents of the pre-existing Barud village in the neighbourhood. Absence of road in the village leads to severe inconvenience and health hazard during rainy months. Since there is no well in the village, most residents have to face daily humiliation of stealing water from wells located about 1-2 km in the neighbouring farmlands. There is no grazing facility for animals and even they have to be dependent on unauthorized grazing. Every morning the villagers have to walk about 1-2 km for chores of defecation. There is a primary school, middle school and a doctor in nearby pre-existing Barud village. However the residents of preexisting village, many of whom own farmland, look at re-settled site residents with certain level of suspicion.

    Infrastructure: The site does not have any roads, drainage system, public wells and electricity. Living in the village, walking within the village, and going outside is extremely inconvenient and prone to health hazard during the rainy season.

    II. RESETTLED VILLAGE: NAYA SIWAR

    Original villages from which people have shifted: All from Siwar Number of families surveyed: 26 Total number of members in surveyed families: 66

    Background: People from the original village Siwar, which had about 200 families living in 85 houses, have moved to, and been divide among, five different places. Most of farming families of original Siwar, belonging to Gujjar and Yadav communities, first moved to Siwar Pipriya, and later divided among three different sites – Naya Siwar, Bhagwanpra Road, and Dinkarpura Road – where they bought land privately. Most of labourer families of original Siwar, belonging to Nayab community, moved to Jaswant Tandi and Hira Tandi. In all, the total farmland area (including newly bought land) of all original Siwar families has reduced from about 1000 acre to 500 acre.

    Of the farmer families of Siwar, about 54 families belonging to 18 houses have chosen to resettle at a site now called Naya Siwar. These 54 families bought land-plots for their houses 2 years ago from local farmers at about Rs. 50,000 per acre. This was dry land.

    People of Naya Siwar confirmed that while about 95% of original Siwar families who lost their land and house in submergence were given both compensation and grant, the rest 5% were not given any grant as their houses, being located on a higher altitude, did not submerge but their farmland did. However, now this cluster of left out houses has become water logged from three sides as the reservoir water level has increased. Consequently, the life of these people has become miserable.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of Mainly farming: Mainly farming: 16 Most families who have privately settled in Naya Siwar
    income 18 Small farming and were previously land-owning farmers;
    (break-up of Small farming labour: 1 4 out of 5 small farmer and 2 out of 18 medium farmer
    families) and labour: 5 Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 2 None: 1 Farm labour: 6 Skilled labour or selfemployed or government employed: 2 None: 1 families have become mainly landless farm labour since all their original land got submerged and they could not buy new land; Most farming families who lost full or part of their land have been able to purchase some new land; The area and quality of new land are less than that of original land since rate of compensation was less than prevailing market rate; For instance, total agricultural land owned by all surveyed families (including new purchases) has reduced from 148 acre to 69.5 acre, i.e. by more than half; Hence people reported loss of annual farm income by 50-80%; Families who have become mainly labourers reported sharp fall in farm labour work, from average of 15-20 days/month previously to 7-9 days/month now, and consequent drop in income by more than 50%; Families engaging in skilled labour like carpentry and tailoring reported sharp reduction in demand for such services
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 15 Total kuchcha houses: 5 Total pucca houses: 10 Total kuchcha houses: 3 Most families have built pucca houses from the compensation and grant amount; 7 of the 26 surveyed families are still living in their original houses which was saved from submergence by virtue of being located over a hillock
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water is a common problem faced by villagers

    Naya Siwar Table contd.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Health Normal 6 families (or about 23%) complained worsening of members’ health Some reports of increased fever and stomach problems; Possible reasons include absence of clean drinking water
    Cattle** 56 34 Cattle population has reduced due to shortage of grazing land at the new site and increase in economic constraints of families
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 15 0 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2-3 years ago, almost none has trees
    Schools for children Most children went to school 3 out of 14 surveyed children (who were previously going to school) have dropped out Families cited long distance of middle and high schools (more than 4 km) as the main reason for dropping out their children from school; Many school-going children are not regular due to the same reason
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families

    Village level issues in Naya Siwar resettlement site:

    Major problems: Most cited concerns of the people are: (a) reduced farm land ownership and productivity as the prevailing market rate of irrigated land is at least twice that of rate of compensation,

    (b) absence of drinking water and other basic amenities like school for children, primary health facility, road and electricity.

    Though there is no public well in the village, the Sarpanch has a private well in his house. However not everyone gets equitable and easy access to it. Nearest primary school is 1 km away (in Tanda), and nearest middle school and high school are about 7 km (in Bid).

    Infrastructure: The site does not have any roads, drainage system, public wells and electricity. Living in the village, walking within the village and going outside is inconvenient and prone to health hazard during the rainy season.

    III. RESETTLED VILLAGE: SIWAR – BHAGWANPURA ROAD

    Original villages from which people have shifted: Mostly from Siwar, a few from Pipliya Number of families surveyed: 16 Total number of members in surveyed families: 54

    Background: From the original village Siwar, about 54 families belonging to 22 houses have chosen to resettle at a site belonging to the state government near Bhagwanpura Road. However, since this is government land, people are uncertain about their future status as they have not been granted permission to settle here by the government.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of Mainly farming: 16 Mainly farming: 16 Most families who have privately settled in Siwar
    income Small farming and Small farming and – Bhagwanpura Road were previously land
    (break-up of labour: 0 labour: 0 owning farmers;
    families) Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 0 Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 0 Most farming families who lost full or part of their land have been able to purchase some new land; The area and quality of new land are less than that of original land since rate of compensation was less than prevailing market rate; For instance, total agricultural land owned by all surveyed families (including new purchases) has reduced from 120.5 acre to 85.5 acre, i.e. by about 30%; Hence people reported loss of annual farm income by 20-50%
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 13 Total kuchcha houses: 4 Total pucca houses: 7 Total kuchcha houses: 0 Most families have built pucca houses from the compensation and grant amount; For some families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water is a common problem faced by villagers
    Health Normal Normal -
    Cattle** 69 37 Cattle population has reduced due to shortage of grazing land at the new site
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 43 3 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2-3 years ago, most do not have trees
    Schools for Most children went Most children go to Nearest primary school is about 2 km from the
    children to school school, but long distance is a concern village and middle and high schools are farther; Hence children find it difficult to be regular at school; A private primary school has opened in the village but it is expensive for low-income families; 3 families reported that they have sent their children to live with relatives in other villages/towns where they can go to school
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families

    Village level issues in Siwar – Bhagwanpura Road resettlement site:

    Major problems: Most cited concerns of the people are: (a) reduced farm land ownership and productivity as the prevailing market rate of irrigated land is about twice that of rate of compensation,

    (b) Limited availability drinking water and absence of other basic amenities like school for children, primary health facility, drainage, sanitation, road and electricity.

    There is a hand pump in the village but it can pull water for only about 4 months in a year as water table falls in other months. Nearest primary school is more than 1 km away. As there is no grazing land for animals, families owing cattle have to rent a nearby land containing forest at about Rs. 4,000 a year.

    Infrastructure: The site does not have any roads, drainage system, public wells and electricity. Living in the village, walking within the village and going outside is inconvenient and prone to health hazard during the rainy season.

    IV. RESETTLED VILLAGE: HANTIYA

    Original villages from which people have shifted: From Dabri, Sindkher, Hanmantiya, Purni, and other places Number of families surveyed: 16 Total number of members in surveyed families: 57

    Background: Resettled site Hantiya has about 150 families belonging to 70 houses. These families have moved here from different original villages. Families from Hanumantiya moved here 3 years ago, whereas some (like those from Dabri) moved only 6 months ago. Most families who have moved to Hantiya were originally farmers. Still the majority of them own farmland, but average land ownership (including newly purchased land) has declined. The reason cited by these families for preferring to privately resettle and not accept government resettlement sites includes the fact that government sites were far from some of their farmland (close to original village) which did not submerge. Hence they privately resettled not too far from original village.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of Mainly farming: 15 Mainly farming: 11 Most families who have privately settled in
    income Small farming and Small farming and Hantiya were previously land-owning farmers;
    (break-up of labour: 1 labour: 1 Most farming families who lost full or part of their
    families) Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 0 Farm labour: 4 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 0 land have been able to purchase some new land; The area and quality of new land are less than that of original land since rate of compensation was less than prevailing market rate; For instance, total agricultural land owned by all surveyed families (including new purchases) has reduced from 110.5 acre to 82 acre, i.e. by about 25%; Hence people reported loss of annual farm income by 20-50%; 4 of surveyed families have not been able to purchase new land and have become mainly labourers; Farm labour work has reduced by about half as compared to the original village
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 11 Total kuchcha houses: 4 Total pucca houses: 9 Total kuchcha houses: 1 Most families have built pucca houses from the compensation and grant amount; For some families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water is a common problem faced by villagers
    Health Normal Normal -
    Cattle** 106 60 Cattle population has reduced due to shortage of grazing land at the new site
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 50 9 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2-3 years ago, most do not have trees
    Schools for Most children went 2 out of 12 Nearest primary and middle schools are about 4
    children to school surveyed children (who were previously going to school) have dropped out km from the village and high school is about 12 km (in Bir); Hence children find it difficult to be regular at school; 4 families reported that they have sent their children to live with relatives in other villages/towns where they can go to nearby school
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families

    Village level issues in Hantiya resettlement site:

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    Major problems: Most cited concerns of the people are: (a) reduced farm land ownership and productivity as the prevailing market rate of irrigated land is about twice that of rate of compensation,

    (b) absence of drinking water and other basic amenities like school for children, primary health facility, drainage, road and electricity.

    There is no public well in the village, and a few houses (mostly bigger farmers) have privately installed hand pumps. There is no primary school building in the village. Nearest primary school is in Purni (a government resettlement site) but it falls under another block (Punasa). There is no middle school or high school in the vicinity.

    Infrastructure: The site does not have any roads, drainage system, public wells and electricity. Living in the village, walking within the village and going outside is inconvenient and prone to health hazard during the rainy season.

    V. RESETTLED VILLAGE: DINKARPURA

    Original villages from which people have shifted: From Bandhaniya, Chirwa, Purni, Shagwa, Jadwa, and Undwa Number of families surveyed: 7 Total number of members in surveyed families: 45

    Background: Dinkarpura is a small resettled cluster comprising about 50 families belonging to 20 houses. These families have moved here from various original villages located within 25 km. The families of each of those original villages have been dispersed among several such resettled sites, mostly privately.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of income (break-up of families) Mainly farming: 7 Small farming and labour: 0 Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 0 Mainly farming: 7 Small farming and labour: 0 Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 0 Most families who have privately settled in Hantiya were previously land-owning farmers; Most farming families who lost full or part of their land have been able to purchase some new land; The area and quality of new land are less than that of original land since rate of compensation was less than prevailing market rate; For instance, total agricultural land owned by all surveyed families (including new purchases) has reduced from 35 acre to 31 acre, i.e. by about 12%; Hence people reported some loss of annual farm income;
    Houses* Total pucca houses: 6 Total kuchcha houses: 3 Total pucca houses: 2 Total kuchcha houses: 3 Most families have built pucca houses from the compensation and grant amount; For some families, number of houses per family has reduced
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water is a common problem faced by villagers
    Health Normal Normal -
    Cattle** 54 54 -
    Fruit-bearing and other useful trees+ 150 40 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2-3 years ago, number of trees are much less now than before
    Schools for children Most children went to school 1 out of 9 surveyed children (who were previously going to school) has dropped out There are primary and middle schools in a nearby village, though high school is far away
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families

    Village level issues in Dinkarpura resettlement site:

    Major problems: Most cited concerns of the people are: (a) reduced farm land productivity due to lower quality (less ground water) of newly purchased land as the prevailing market rate of irrigated land is about three times that of rate of compensation, (b) absence of drinking water and other basic amenities like road and electricity. There is no public well in the village. There is a private tubewell but it does not yield water for most part of the year. Nearest primary school is about 1.5 km away.

    Infrastructure: The site does not have any roads, drainage system, public wells and electricity. Living in the village, walking within the village and going outside is inconvenient and prone to health hazard during the rainy season.

    VI. RESETTLED VILLAGE: NAGARBEDA

    Original villages from which people have shifted: From Ghisor and Fefriya Khurd Number of families surveyed: 24 Total number of members in surveyed families: 95

    Background: Nagarbeda resettlement site has about 150 families living in 40 houses. These families moved to Nagarbeda about 3 years ago from Ghisor and Fefriya Khurd submergence villages located within 3 km. Only one-third families from Ghisor and a few from Fefriya Khurd have chosen to resettle at Nagarbeda, whereas others have moved elsewhere. Previously the villagers of Ghisor and Fefriya Khurd were strongly dependent for work and other functional needs on the city of Harsud located within 12 km. However, as Harsud city itself has been relocated due to submergence of original city, it is now about 100 km from Nagarbeda. There is no other major town or city in the vicinity. Therefore all economic and social linkages of people of Ghisor and Fefriya Khurd with the city have been destroyed.

    Indicator Before displacement After displacement Remarks
    Means of Mainly Mainly farming: 5 (out of which 2 Most families who have privately settled in
    income farming: 6 have migrated and bought farm land Nagarbeda were previously land-owning farmers;
    (break- Small farming elsewhere) Most farming families lost all their land; some have
    up of and labour: 18 Small farming and labour: 4 (all have purchased new land at other places where prices
    families) Farm labour: 0 Skilled labour or selfemployed or government employed: 0 migrated elsewhere) Farm or factory labour: 12 (out of which 4 have migrated and become labour elsewhere; 2 have become factory labour) Skilled labour or self-employed or government employed: 3 were cheaper, though area and quality of new land are less than that of original land since rate of compensation was less than prevailing market rate; For instance, total agricultural land owned by all surveyed families (including new purchases) has reduced from 96.2 acre to 36.7 acre, i.e. by over 60%; Hence people reported loss of annual farm income by 50-75%; More than half of surveyed families, who were previously small or medium farmers, have now become mainly labourers; They reported sharp decline in demand for farm labour work
    Houses* Total pucca Total pucca houses: 3 Most families have built new houses from the
    houses: 5 Total kuchcha houses: 10 Total kuchcha houses: 11 compensation and grant amount
    Drinking water Public wells available No public wells in the village; No piped water supply Scarcity of drinking water is a common problem faced by villagers
    Health Normal 3 out of 24 families reported psychological stress Families cited economic insecurity as the reason for increasing psychological stress
    Cattle** 107 69 Cattle population has reduced due to shortage of grazing land at the new site
    Fruitbearing and other useful trees+ 150 1 As families have constructed/ moved into new houses less than 2 years ago, almost none has trees
    Schools Most children Most children go to school, but many There are no middle and high schools nearby
    for went to school have been shifted to either relatives
    children place or migrated with parents to other places where they are going to school
    * Figure indicates total number of houses owned by all surveyed families ** Includes all cattle like cows, bullocks and goats; the figure indicates total number of cattle animals owned by all surveyed families + Figure indicates total number of useful trees and plants owned by all surveyed families

    Village level issues in Nagarbeda resettlement site:

    Major problems: Most cited concerns of the people are: (a) reduced farm land ownership and productivity as the prevailing market rate of irrigated land is about three times that of rate of compensation, and consequent drop in incomes, (b) sharp reduction in availability of farm labour work, from more than 20 days/month previously to only 3-4 days/month now, and (c) absence of clean drinking water and other basic amenities like road, drainage and electricity.

    Residents of Nagarbeda resettled site have to walk about 2 km (to Pipriya) to fetch water from the well. To confront scarcity of work and drinking water has now become part of their daily struggle. There is no Anganwadi in the village. An old teacher informally runs primary school in his house as there is no building for it. The nearest middle school is about 3 k m (in Borkheda) and high school is about 9 k (in Bir).

    Villagers fear that Nagarbeda will become almost like an island, isolating them from neighbouring areas, when the water level in ISP dam reaches 262 m height.

    Infrastructure: The site does not have any roads, drainage system, public wells and electricity. Living in the village, walking within the village and going outside is inconvenient and prone to health hazard during the rainy season.

    Observations common to all six privately re-settled sites:

    How the compensation and grant amount has been used:

    Like in government resettled sites, in self resettled site too most families spent all or major portion of their compensation and grant on at least one of the following: (a) purchase of house plot, (b) construction of house, (c) paying off whole or part of debts, (d) meeting running expenses of the household. Sales of country liquor and motorcycles have been rampant in the region. Most families have been unable to purchase new agricultural land as the market price of land is more than two or three times the amount received as compensation for submerged land. In overwhelming majority of families, the only durable asset purchased from compensation and grant money is new house (small pucca houses in most cases, kuchcha houses in some). No productive asset (like agricultural land or shop or tools/equipments useful for employable or entrepreneurial work) could be purchased because of similar reasons as in case of families of government resettled sites.

    Outstanding complaints related to compensation or grant:

    Many families, for instance 12 out of 41 surveyed in Barud, complained that they received either (a) no or less grant, despite having a kuchcha or pucca house, or (b) less compensation than what was due as per submerged area of land and other assets like trees and wells. Most families complained of rampant corruption in the processes of measuring area of land, classifying land as irrigated or nonirrigated, measuring area and type of original house, and disbursal of compensation and grant.

    Like in case of those living in government resettled sites, the privately resettled people also agreed that even if the compensation amount was higher their first preference would have been for getting equivalent agricultural land in lieu of lost land. They too felt that the asset of agricultural land matches well with their skills and knowledge, whereas they are not well equipped to invest cash compensation in a long term productive undertaking. Again, the landless people (labourers) said they would have preferred agricultural land for compensation as this would have been the only way to quickly rebuild their lost economic status and improve their livelihood.

    Acknowledgements

    We would like to express deepest gratitude to our friends at Narmada Bachao Andolan – Chittaroopa Palit, Alok Agrawal, Bhagwan Bhai, Ram Kunwar, Sangeeta, Bala, Kalu and many others. The indomitable courage, passion and humility they display in the incessant struggle with the displaced people of the Narmada valley has been our main inspiration for undertaking this survey. Their struggle is a beacon of light in the vast darkness of displacement, deprivation and exploitation that has filled the valley since the large dams began being built. We are also grateful to the many displaced people living in several resettled sites of Indira Sagar Pariyojana who welcomed us and willingly gave us time to narrate their real human experiences.

    Email: rahulanjula@gmail.com

    References

    NCPRI (2004). Without Land or Livelihood: The Indira Sagar Dam – State Accountability and Rehabilitation Issues, Report of the Independent People’s Commission.

    Sharma, B (2005). Oustees of Indira Sagar Dam: Saga of Harsud, Economic and Political Weekly, January 1-7, Vol XL No.1.

    About the authors:

    Kaivalya Desai and Upmanyu Trivedi are Masters students and Vineet Jain an Undergraduate student at the Delhi University.

    P. Srikant is a doctoral student at the Institute of Social & Economic Change, Bangalore. In his dissertation he is studying the issues related to displacement of local communities uprooted from large projects.

    Rahul Pandey pursues part time research and teaching. Formerly, he has been member of faculty at IIT Mumbai and IIM Lucknow. Address for correspondence: rahulanjula@gmail.com

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