Skip to main content

Most of 31,000 Uttarakhand dam affected families to get "peanuts" as compensation, says fresh calculation

By Our Representative
A fresh calculation following the recent Uttarakhand government’s announcement that it is “ready” to pay six times what is called the “circle rate” as compensation payable to the projected affected families (PAFs) of the proposed 5,040 MW Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMPP), has suggested that the distribution of the total amount – Rs Rs 6,520.1 crore – would be “highly skewed” and “unequal.”
According to official sources, the Pancheshwar dam is likely to lead to land acquisition to the tune of 3,735 hectares (ha) of private land. The Social Impact Assessment (SIA) report, prepared by government-appointed consultants, WAPCOS, estimates that it would impact 31,023 families in three districts of the state – Pithoragadh, Almora and Champawat.
The calculation, carried out by the civil rights organization Mahakali Lok Sangathan (MLS), based in Pithodagadh, Uttarakhand, has unearthed a stark reality: In just one village, Majirkanda, would be getting 65% (Rs 4,211.39 crore) of the total compensation amount, even though in just one district, Pithoragadh, 23 villages would be affected.
“As per the SIA report, 1,279.21 ha land (which 34% of the total land to be acquired for the project) falls in one village, Majirkanda of Pithoragarh district”, an analysis, by Srendrandra Arya and Prakash Bhandari based on the calculation says, adding, “It is unclear how such a large chunk of land is falling in just one village.”
“Compare this to another project affected village in Pithoragarh district, Kaanadi, which will be totally displaced by the dam”, the analysis says, adding, “A total of 3.9 hectares (195 naalis) of private land is to be acquired here, and the compensation rate here amounts to Rs 80,000 per naali (circle rate is Rs 20,000 per naali).”
“Even if this is multiplied six times of the applicable circle rate of the area, it amounts to about Rs 1.2 lakh per naali”, the analysis underlines, suggesting this is far below the actual market rate.
“The main question, which the PAFs are raising, is whether with this amount it is at all possible for a family to buy fertile and productive land in a well-connected village in the area. For instance, if people of Kaanadi were to search for land around Wadda, the current rates there are around Rs.7-8 lakhs/naali”, the analysis says.
Kailash Chand from Kanaadi village laments, “There are 40 plus families who will be completely displaced in the village and this dam is a nightmare for us. All the figures of land in the survey are incorrect. The amount of land involved is substantially higher than has been recorded by WAPCOS in the SIA report”.
Pointing out that similar is the case in with 13 out of the 20 impacted villages of Almora district, the analysis says, “In Champawat district, where out of the 15 villages, seven will be impacted, the compensation rate is worse, Rs. 0.50 per naali. Even six times circle rate won’t enable farmers to buy land elsewhere.”
Worse, the analysis says, the calculation suggests that 23 villages of Pithoragadh alone villages would be paid Rs 5,452 crore, i.e 84%, of the total compensation budgeted for private land acquisition, i.e Rs 6,520.1 crore.
“It is important to note that these 23 villages have less than one fourth (23%) of the total PAFs – 7102 of the 31,023 PAFs”, the analysis says, adding, “As a result of this inequality about 80% of the PAFs will get amounts equal to peanuts for the kind of fertile and diverse land base that will be lost. It is clear that the displacement because of the dam will push thousands of families into poverty and an economic crisis.”

Comments

TRENDING

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

TISS Hyderabad: Burden of funds cut falls on students from 'marginalized' sections

Counterview Desk
Top activists associated with the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a civil society network, including Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Dr Binayak Sen, and Prafulla Samantara, has protested against the decision of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) administration for “sine die” closure of TISS, Hyderabad Campus, even as “denying” hostel access to Dalit and Adivasi students.