What is resettlement and rehabilitation


What is resettlement and rehabilitation

Literal meaning of settlement is a place where people have come to live and have built home. The World Commission on Dams (WCD), in its report, said that ‘impoverishment and disempowerment have been the rule rather than the exception with respect to resettled people around the world’. The report gives specific recommendations to national governments, NGOs, affected people’s organization, the private sector, aid agencies, and development banks on all social aspects of large dam projects including displacement and resettlement.

Displaced people are not always resettled and rehabilitated; even compensation they get is often inadequate. But the story of a dam on River Tawa in Madhya Pradesh is one hope. Construction of this dam displaced over 4,000 adivasis families in 44 villages. The adivasis stayed at that place instead of going to other places for resettlement. Simultaneously, this group campaigned for a secured fishing rights in the reservoir created for a secured fishing rights in the reservoir created by the dam. Adivasis learnt everything related to fishing. They formed the Tawa Matsya Sangh (TMS) with 1200 members and the state government gave them a five year lease in 1996. The TMS made profits and shared it with its members. Moreover, it was also able to pay royalty to the government.

The displaced people often face several problems related to resettlement and rehabilitation. Some of them are:
  • Basic infrastructure and basic needs are not provided in the new area by the concerned authority.
  • Very often, temporary camps become permanent shelters.
  • The compensation paid to the victims is often inadequate; sometimes, they don’t get it at all.
  • In case of any displacement of tribal groups, they do not get any compensation since their lands are not legalized.
  • Sometimes, agents and the corrupt officials deprive the poor of the full compensation.

Beside the psychological pressure on the displaced group, the above problems play a role of catalyst in their deteriorating problems.

Tribal and rural communities are increasingly facing the wrath of land acquisition for developmental projects, as they occupy areas rich in natural resources. Recent examples include the use of violence to forcefully acquire lands in Orissa and Maharashtra for bauxite mining by Sterlite Industries, and the submergence of human settlements presently taking place in Narmada Valley.

For many years, groups such as the Shramjivi Sanghatana in Maharashtra, Visthapit Mukti Morcha, Jamshedpur, the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, and Samaj Parivartana Samudaya in Karnataka have strongly urged the drastic amendment of the Land Acquisition Act, which addresses the issue of effective and timely rehabilitation. This, however, remains a distant dream.

Last modified: Wednesday, 4 January 2012, 8:28 AM