The Sardar Sarovar Dam has been in the news more than once for the large-scale displacement it has caused. But there is a lull in the media after rehabilitation is promised, says Community Correspondent Pawan Solanki, reporting on life after supposed rehabilitation.
At least 40,000 families displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Project in Madhya Pradesh itself have not been rehabilitated. But for those who have been rehabilitated, the resettlement sites are often a nightmare. What is worse is that many have been forcefully evicted, without proper notice, and then given resettlement land that already belongs to someone else.
“We were tricked by Sachin Yadav and the patwari (village accountant), we agreed to having our houses demolished thinking that we would receive the compensation we were promised”, says Koyal, who belongs to a community of 28 families whose economic mainstay is farming.
For a farming community, being displaced comes with the additional problem of finding cultivable land again. But the residents of Amlali village have neither homes nor farmlands. “We also have livestock, how do we provide for our families and our livestock?’, asks a man who also lost his home to the demolition.
Koyal’s family was given a plot after the demolition, only to find that someone else had already occupied it. The authorities then moved her family to another plot but they were evicted from there soon enough. “There is ambiguity over who these plots have been allocated to, and as a result, this community of poor farmers is homeless”, says Pawan.
The case of forced evictions and improper rehabilitation in Amlali is not an aberration. In another part of Barwani, the Sardar Sarovar-affected district that Pawan reports from, another farming community was given a rocky patch of land to relocate to. And in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar, displaced families were given homes inundated with flood waters.
The Supreme Court, in a statement on the Sardar Sarovar displacement issue, has said that no one can be forcefully evicted without adequate monetary compensation and appropriate public amenities in the resettlement sites.
But the ground reality is vastly different, as Pawan’s report, amongst other reports, shows. The residents of Amlali live in makeshift ramshackle houses awaiting proper compensation from the government. To support their demand for monetary compensation and proper rehabilitation, call the District Collector of Barwani, Tejaswi Naik and urge him to act on the demand.
Video by Community Correspondent Pawan Solanki
Article by Alankrita Anand, a member of the VV Editorial Team