Resettlement and Rehabilitation of People with Case Study

Resettlement and Rehabilitation of People with Case Study
Resettlement and Rehabilitation of People with Case Study

Economic development raises the quality and standard of living of the people of a country. Developmental projects are planned to bring benefits to the society. However, in the process of development, very often there is over-exploitation of natural resources and degradation of the environment. Besides this, quite often, the native people of the project site are directly affected. These native people are generally the poorest of the poor, underprivileged tribal people. Various types of projects result in the displacement of the native people who undergo tremendous economic and psychological distress, as the socioeconomic and ecological base of the local community is disturbed.  

a) Displacement problems due to dams

The big river valley projects have one of the most serious socio-economic impacts due to large scale displacement of local people from their ancestral home and loss of their traditional profession or occupation. India is one of the countries in the world leading in big dam construction and in the last 50 years more than 20 million people are estimated o have directly or indirectly affected by these dams e.g. Hirakum Dam, Bhakra Nangal Dam, Tehri Dam are the examples where many people and their villages in the vicinity got affected. It also resulted in movement lead by Sunderlal Bahuguna- movement called Chipko Movement- One more stir is currently on is Sardar Sarovar Project- three states people and many villages get affected. 

b) Displacement due to mining 

Mining is another developmental activity, which causes displacement of the native people. Several thousands of hectares of land area is covered in mining operation and the native people are displaced. Sometimes displacement of local people is due to accidents occurring in mined areas like subsidence of land that often leads to shifting people e.g. various mines are predominant in Jharkhand, these mines had displaced many people. 

c) Displacement due to creation of National park 

 When some forests are covered under a National Park, it is a welcome step for conservation of the natural resources. However, it also has a social aspect associated with it which is often neglected. A major portion of the forest is declared as core-area, where the entry of local dwellers or tribals is prohibited. When these villagers are deprived of their ancestral right or access to forests, they usually retaliate by starting destructive activities. There is a need to look into their problems and provide them some employment 


The United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights has declared that right to housing is a basic human right. In India, most of the displacements have resulted due to land acquisition by the government for various reasons. For this purpose, the government has the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which empowers it to serve notice to the people to vacate their lands if there is a need as per government planning. Provision of cash compensation in lieu of the land vacated exists in the Act.  
The major issues related to displacement and rehabilitation are as follows: 

a) Tribals are usually the most affected amongst the displaced who are already poor. Displacement further increases their poverty due to loss of land, home, jobs, food insecurity, loss of access to common property assets, increased morbidity and mortality and social isolation. 

b) Break up of families in an important social issue arising due to displacement in which the women are the worst affected and they are not even given cash/land compensation. 

c) The tribals are not familiar with the market policies and trends. Even if they get cash compensation, they get alienated in the modern economic set up. 

d) The land acquisition laws ignore the communal ownership of property, which is an inbuilt system amongst the tribals. Thus the tribals lose their communitarian basis of economic and cultural existence. They feel like fish out of water. 

e) Kinship systems, marriages, social and cultural functions, their folk-songs, dances and activities vanish with their displacement, even when they are resettled; it is individual-based resettlement, which totally ignores communal settlement. 

f) Loss of identity and loss of the intimate link between the people and the environment is one of the biggest loss. The age-long indigenous knowledge, which has been inherited and experienced by them about the flora, fauna, their uses etc. gets lost. 

Rehabilitation policy

There is a need for a comprehensive National Rehabilitation Policy. Different states are following different practices in this regard. 

Case Study

In case of sardar sarovar project Gujarat Government is formulating its policy through various government resolutions. It has decided that each landed outstee shall be entitled to allotment of irrigable land in the state which he chooses for his resettlement. The area of the land would be equal to that owned by his earlier and the minimum land given to an outstee would be 2 hectares. However, there are problems of landless outstees and those natives who were cultivating forest land. The cut-off date for identifying an adult son in a family has been fixed. It is important since the adult son is to be treated as a separate family. The people of 20 submerged villages in Gujrat hane been resettled at different locations leading to disintegration of joint families. 

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