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Injustice At Indira Sagar Dam

A Report

Read the full report here

In August 2004, the National Campaign for People's Right to Information of India constituted an independent people's commission to investigate the present situation of displacement, resettlement, relief and rehabilitation, in the villages and towns affected and submerged as a result of the Indira Sagar Pariyojana multipurpose project (alternatively, the Narmada Sagar Dam) in western India, and those that are due to submerge in the future. The two person commission was convened by Naresh C. Saxena, Member of the National Advisory Council of the Government of India and former Secretary of the Planning Commission of India, and is comprised of Angana P. Chatterji, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, and Harsh Mander, Member, National Campaign for People's Right to Information and Right to Food Campaign. In early August, Dr. Chatterji and Mr. Mander visited Harsud, neighboring villages, and resettlement sites in Khandwa District in Madhya Pradesh. They heard over 1400 people at public hearings, and held extensive meetings with, among others, Chittaroopa Palit and Alok Agarwal of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The Commission is in the process of submitting its report to the National Advisory Council of the Government of India, headed by Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi.

The Commission's report, entitled, "Without land or Livelihood. The Indira Sagar Dam: State Accountability and Rehabilitation Issues", states:

"Significant research demonstrates that large dams incur considerably more costs than benefits, and it has been amply confirmed that the social and ecological damage that results from large dams is prohibitive and disproportionately borne by marginalized peoples and cultures. This Commission finds the Indira Sagar Pariyojana in Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh to be no exception… We find that vast human rights abuses have taken place and that the Government of Madhya Pradesh in the construction of the Indira Sagar Pariyojana has perpetrated indefensible social, political and economic injustices on the people of the Narmada Valley. Affected people across cultures, classes and genders continue to endure conditions that are dehumanizing and cruel in a context bereft of processes allowing an acknowledgment of the enormity of the decimation and resources necessary to heal from it. It is of particular concern that poor and disenfranchised people are treated with contempt by the state, as groups to whom the nation is not accountable. The violence of the everyday experienced by individuals and communities is incomprehensible, as brutality and oppression are administered through the state's mistreatment of the affected. These injustices also highlight the severe and existing hierarchies of caste, tribe, religion and gender in the state, and compound social suffering and cultural violence in the name of development."

The Commission made 32 recommendations including a directive to amend the 1987 Rehabilitation Policy of the Government of Madhya Pradesh to allow for land compensation to the landless, ensuring the eligibility and assured access of all cultivators, including landless workers, to housing and cultivable agricultural land.

Read the full report here











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