ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Displaced from Private Property

Resettlement and Rehabilitation Experiences from Mumbai

Baseline data for planning the resettlement and rehabilitation of persons affected by the Mumbai Urban Transport Project lumped persons situated on private property with slumdwellers leading to protests and delays. This study, based on empirical research, confi rms that compensation offered was far below rightful entitlements and suggests that R&R should be a separate full-scale project in large urban settings.

This article is based on research conducted by the author in her capacity as a short-term consultant with the Inspection Panel of the World Bank (2005) and as an independent researcher. The views expressed are her own.

  Paradoxically, the origins of impoverishment are at times embedded in some of the very development projects that aim to reduce poverty by improving infrastructure. This study aims to understand the adverse impacts of development-related forced displacement by the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) (the project), and critically assesses the inadequate resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) package offered to the project-affected persons (PAP)1 living on private property. The purpose of this study is to show that the lack of an accurate basic socio-economic survey (BSES) at the pre-project stage and the oversights in making a precise inventory of the to-be displaced PAPs on private property led to their being lumped together with the “squatter category”, which referred to slum-dwellers. Based on the BSES records, these PAPs were given the compensation package intended for the “squatter category”, which was grossly unfair and inadequate, and therefore, not accepted by them.

The article focuses on the R&R issues related to PAPs on private property that surfaced during the improvement of the rail and the road components of this project in the Greater Mumbai Region (GMR). At the time of implementation, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the coordinating agency responsible for implementing the R&R component, was caught unawares and unprepared, as it did not have a plan in place for the R&R of this group of PAPs. The matter was complicated further because in several cases land records had not been updated, and therefore, structures located on private property were categorised under the squatter category.

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