Skip to main content

70% of Gujarat's resettled Narmada oustees not happy, 54% want to go back, 82% don't have pucca houses: Study

Gujarat oustees' protest a year ago
Counterview Desk
A London School of Economics and Political Science research, carried out by two Indian researchers, SA Ayiar, an economic journalist with the Cato Institute, and Prof Neeraj Kaushal of the Columbia University, has suggested 70% of the Narmada dam oustees who were sent packing to resettlement : colonies in late 1980s and early 1990s may still not happy with their living conditions.
The study, sponsored by the International Growth Centre (IGC) of the prestigious London School, says that says that on being asked whether they would “prefer returning to their old villages” from where they were uprooted, “around 54% said yes” and only “30% said no”, while the rest refused to answer.
The research, whose complete findings have still not been made public, though one of the authors, Ayiar, has written about it in a top Indian daily, also reveals that as many as 82% of the resettled oustees do not still have pucca houses, 55% of them do not have access to drinking water, and 84% do not have access to hospitals.
Written ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday bash, scheduled for September 17, when he and BJP chief ministers of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra would celebrate the “completion” of the Narmada dam, the article, ironically, seeks to conclude that most tribals didn’t mind being ousted by the dam.
The reason Aiyar provides for this is, compared to their former neighbours, the resettled oustees are better off.
To quote him, “Comparing oustees with their former neighbours, the proportion with pucca houses was 18% versus 3%; with electricity was 95% versus 71%; and with drinking water was 45% against 33%. Access to schools was 99% versus 51%, to public health centres was 37% versus 12%, and to hospitals 14% versus 3%.”
A resettlement site in Madhya Pradesh
Well-known development experts Shripad Dharmadhikary and Nandini Oza refute the argument, commenting, “Given that the oustees were resettled between 25-30 years ago, and that the Sardar Sardar project has poured in hundreds of crores of rupees for resettlement, these figures don’t speak of oustees being better off, but indeed, point to the pathetic case of the oustees.”
Other facts “suggesting” that the resettled tribals were better off are, again to quote him, “For the resettled, semi-evacuated and interior villages, respectively, the ownership of bicycles was 65%, 31% and 48%; of two-wheelers was 61%, 31% and 46%; of colour TVs was 39%, 23% and 36%; of mobile phones was 88%, 59% and 75%.”
Further, he says, “As for agriculture, tractor ownership was 7% versus 2%”, adding, “The resettled tribals used more purchased inputs like fertilisers and pesticides, and grew higher-value crops (with irrigation) like paddy and cotton.”
The objective of the research project, which ended in May this year, has been to study the well-being of tribal families ousted and resettled by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada authority. It is not known whether researchers the studied Madhya Pradesh oustees, too, who are currently protesting across the Narmada Valley against the dam’s completion.
The London School introduction to the project, refusing to give any credit to the government whatever facilities resettled oustees have been able to gain, says, “Sustained vigorous activism by civil society organizations and local communities helped create a resettlement package for the oustees that was unprecedented in Indian history and marked a significant change in Indian federal and state government policies towards resettlement and rehabilitation of tribes.”

Comments

TRENDING

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.