Over 2 decades later, the Narmada-dam displaced still wait for their land

Twenty-two years ago, in 1994, Jugla Vasave was ousted from his home and farm in Chimalkhadi village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, when the Sardar Sarovar Dam was built along the Narmada river. He, along with many others, was promised to be rehabilitated with an arable land by the state government. The state government had committed to giving project-affected people a land to be rehabilitated, so a hopeful Jugla waited anxiously for his land but never received intimation about it.

Since 1985, over 41,000 families have been displaced in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat by the Sardar Sarovar Project. In Maharashtra, 4,262 families have been identified so far as project-affected people.  Farmers by occupation, many of these people are victims of a paper-based rehabilitation programme.

Many families which have been rehabilitated have cried foul for various reasons - the land they have received under rehabilitation  is uncultivable or water logged in hundreds of cases. Many have not been given sufficient land, more have wrongly been given privately owned lands. 

Tired of being a hopeless nomad, Jugla set up his makeshift house on top of an arid hill and got to work as a daily labourer. When Chetan Salve, Video Volunteers correspondent from Maharashtra investigated into the matter, Jugla found that the state government had in fact issued an allotment order for the land without informing him. Worse, the land allotted to him was a grazing area which would submerge under the Narmada water during monsoons.

The government had allotted Jugla a land that could not be cultivated. But Jugla was not alone in this ordeal. Along with him, there were seven more farmers who were given arid lands in place of cultivatable lands. Once proud farmers from the banks of the Narmada river, these men have been reduced to being wage labourers, making ends meet by doing odd jobs.

However, their demands are not high. They simply ask for what is rightfully theirs. "We are happy with whatever land that government gives us, as long as it is cultivatable," says Jugla.

Call to Action: Help Jugla and his community get their right to land and livelihood as promised by the Maharashtra state government. Call or message Vinay Gosavi, the Deputy Collector, Sardar Sarovar Project, Taloda, Maharashtra on +91-2567-232115 and demand that he take corrective measures to rehabilitate Jugla. 

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Chetan Salve.

Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change. we could hyperlink to some VV pages, like our take action page.

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