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

DisplacementSubscribe to Displacement

Hirakud Dam and Plight of Its Oustees

Displacement for larger public interest has been a welcome phenomenon in a democratic and welfare state like India. Correspondingly, when it comes to restoration and adequate rehabilitation of the displaced, the state has to be proactive and provide a model of ethics and democracy. However, the past accounts and existing circumstances clearly suggest that there has been a severe abdication of this responsibility on the part of both the regional and central governments in considering the plight of the Hirakud dam oustees, particularly those who have not been properly rehabilitated yet.

Land Acquisition in Punjab

Analysing a case of development-induced displacement through a survey of land dispossession in Punjab reveals how displacement for development projects adversely affects farmers economically, socially and culturally. Fertile land acquired for a thermal power plant remains unused, depriving villagers of their livelihoods as well as the benefits that could have accrued had the project materialised. Large-scale land acquisition for the establishment of thermal power plants causes irreversible changes in the lives of local communities that are deprived of their source of livelihood by land acquisition and also gives rise to other social, economic, political and ecological changes. To avert the crisis resulting from the acquisition of agricultural land for developmental purposes, “long-term livelihood opportunities” for dispossessed farmers should be rebuilt, as compensation acts as wealth, and not income, for agrarian societies.

Forest Rights Act in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

The emergence of the Forest Rights Act reasserted the vitality of the role people play in conservation and management of natural resources and carving out legal channels for recognition of their forest rights. But, in Himachal Pradesh, the FRA suffers at the hands of a bureaucracy that has buried it under the weight of colonial power structures. The conflicting narratives from Kinnaur are discussed, where instead of being recognised under the FRA, the tribals’ identity and forest dependence are being ripped away from them.

How Many People Will We Continue to Displace In the Name of Development?

This reading list looks at why we need to conceptualise an inclusive model of development that does not shortchange marginalised communities.

Developmental Rhetoric, Uprooted Lives

Any developmental activity can be meaningful only when the dispossessed and displaced people are taken care of and adequately rehabilitated. Nevertheless, their basic rights to life and decent rehabilitation are often violated by governments and project authorities. Such violations are particularly evident in the Gundlakamma Reservoir Project in Andhra Pradesh.

Origin of Conservation Refugees

The conservation of biodiversity and natural resources can help offer a sustainable supply of goods and services to fulfil the right of people to development and livelihood. However, the conservation record is not inspiring in India and across the world, when its social, economic, and cultural impacts on local people are considered. Conservation projects that exclude local people may conserve natural resources to an extent but not people’s access to livelihoods. By being a densely populated country, India cannot encourage the strategy of “pristine nature” in its conservation initiatives.

People Out of Place

An examination of the circumstances in which a set of pavement dwellers in Mumbai came to the city, allows one to link their imperiled urban material and political circumstances to the green revolution and the changes it wrought both in the relations of social reproduction and the form of electoral politics. Methodologically, their life stories also suggest that the space of rural poverty in India cannot be coterminous with the village border. Thus, the hinterland is not a physical location but a relational one, a configuration of historical and spatial relations that could as easily be found outside a city’s limits, as it can be found inside a city.

Education of Children and Civil Strife in Chhattisgarh

This field study from Bijapur district of Bastar division, Chhattisgarh, ascertains the current status of participation of children from different social groups in elementary education and explores the specific factors caused by civil strife, based on interviews with and observations of children, parents, educational administrators and government functionaries.

Nationhood and Displacement in Indian Subcontinent

The journey of nations begins with the construction of 'self', the basic criteria for which is a preconceived homogeneity. But achieving such a homogeneity proves elusive and the search becomes an exercise in peeling an onion, which involves the shedding of people who do not fit the constructed identity or who question the accepted framework. This in turn prompts the construction of minority identities which strive to build a majority for themselves. In the subcontinent the search for nationhood has always focused on ethnicity, culture and religion, but what has emerged is a heterogeneous mix of people who should have represented diversity but now have one culture, the middle class culture and one identity, the middle class identity.

Orissa : Mining Bauxite, Maiming People

The bauxite rich Kashipur block of Orissa has long been a focus of some interest to major aluminium corporates. Its exploitation is now taking a sharp and ugly turn with the tribals fighting for their livelihood and homes and against the environmentally damaging industrial development being proposed and the state tacitly endorsing the development plans.

Sardar Sarovar Judgment and Human Rights

The Sardar Sarovar judgment is, in the Supreme Court's own words, fundamentally about the human rights of displaced people. However, rather than providing a full reasoned analysis of the human rights situation, the judgment focuses on the various administrative procedures put in place by the state to deal with the issues arising from the Sardar Sarovar Project. This is rather surprising. Even if we assume that domestic law is underdeveloped with regard to eviction, displacement and rehabilitation, there was substantial guidance from the international level to help the court in reaching a decision.
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