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

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

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.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."