Skip to main content

Sea rise-induced displacement in Bay of Bengal: Need for 'suitable' rehab policy

By Simi Mehta, Ritika Gupta, Amita Bhaduri 

To understand the far-reaching and disproportionate impact of rising sea-level on coastal communities, the Centre for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD), Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), Tarun Bharat Sangh, India Water Portal, and Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan organized a #WebPolicyTalk on Sea Rise Induced Displacement in the Bay of Bengal: The Need for Suitable Rehabilitation Policy as part of its #WaterAndClimate series.
The moderator, Dr Indira Khurana, Senior Expert at Water Sector and the Vice Chair of Tarun Bharat Sangh commenced the session. She mentioned that the issue of climate change and the ensuing condition of climate refugees is a concern in India and at the global level. India has a vast coastal population, and thus, a large number of people are being affected.
With respect to the Sundarbans Delta region, the area has a fragile ecology with villages that are highly prone to erosion. Over the years, migration is commonplace as a result of uncertainty arising from frequent storms.
Ranjan Panda, Waterman of Odisha and Convenor of Water Initiatives and Combat Climate Change Network stated that his ongoing evidence-based research recognized the need for a sustained effort. He emphasized that the impact of climate change reflects the state of water bodies. 
It is imperative to comprehend human activities and their effects on the water to know why people are disproportionately affected worldwide. Ecosystems and ocean biodiversity are under constant threat, and it is our collective responsibility to protect biodiversity in order to combat climate change.
Since 1880, the sea level has risen by 8 to 9 inches in India. Ranjan stated that a minimum of 12 inches of sea-level rise is expected by the end of this century, despite global climate agreements. Apart from these figures, the drastic impact is evident, with the poorest communities being the first victims.
The main issue of displacement may bring about a multitude of changes in society along with escalating stress on available resources. 10% of the global population residing in coastal areas is at the highest risk of disasters such as coastal erosion, inundations, storm floods, tidal waters encroachment, and displacement of coastal lowlands.
For internally displaced people, extreme weather events and the following disasters force them to migrate to relatively safer places. There has been an exponential rise in their population. It has been forecasted that the Internally Displaced People (IDP) can rise to more than 143 million by 2050.

Bay of Bengal’s infamous nature

The Bay of Bengal is labeled as the cyclone hotbed, as several deadly cyclones have originated over its area. Due to its geographical location, Odisha bears the brunt of the cyclones and rising sea levels. Climate change, geographical tampering, and thermal expansion contribute to this rise.
Odisha has lost about 28% of its coastline. Reports state that 30% of the coastal areas will be at substantial risk of erosion in the future. The sea-level increase has also resulted in huge economic loss and disruption of livelihood among the coastal communities, further forcing the poor into grave poverty.
The coping mechanisms of people have been worsening, and building resilience to combat these changes is a difficult task. Investments to mitigate the condition require resources. Additionally, the realization that resources are diminishing should nudge people to adopt an ecological approach towards protecting biodiversity.
Tandahar and Udayakani in Puri district have been exposed to the ingression of the sea, as they are merely 100 meters away from it. The local communities have already relocated thrice, with their original village being inside the sea. Moreover, agriculture is not feasible in the region due to recent storms and the inundation of fields. Therefore, agricultural land has shrunk and people have become landless and migrant laborers.
As climatic and political issues persist, people do not have access to the regular piped water supply. Consequently, women travel around 1.5 kilometers to collect water that is less saline. In terms of health issues, the locals face gastro-related diseases, hypertension, and skin diseases. Despite having a negligible carbon footprint, these people are made to face the impact of climate change.

Satabhaya: Face of climate change

Previously a prosperous panchayat, Satabhaya has been the worst-hit region of sea rise. People were forced to leave when the sea engulfed the area. Currently, they have been rehabilitated to Bagapatia rehabilitation colony. This colony is the first of its kind in Odisha and supports people affected by sea erosion. However, the problem is that there is no mechanism to compensate for the loss faced by the coastal communities.
Essentially, only homestead land is provided, and people still do not possess individual or community land for agricultural purposes. This increases their dependence on markets for food and risks their nutritional security, as the consumption of protein has come down.
Basic amenities, livelihood options, lands, and support systems are required for the peoples’ survival and betterment.
Ranjan highlights the housing and land title for the displaced people and mentions that detailed rehabilitation laws should be drafted. Livelihood security and opportunities can only be developed over time and until then, cash compensations should be made. Food and nutritional security should also be considered thoroughly. Placing people at the center, suitable policies should be systematically created and carefully implemented
Dr Indira Khurana mentioned the importance of the relationship between ecological health and holistic human development. Mr Ranjan Panda took a question on organizations that are actively working towards support internally displaced people. He elaborated on the groups of people working on migration, land rights, forest rights, water, sanitation, and gender.
Speaking of policy response to climate-induced displacements, he recommended that provisions under existing policies can be used. Cooperation between countries is also crucial to help climate refugees. Additionally, the government should play an active role in identifying ecological vulnerabilities before paving the way for further development.
---
Acknowledgment: Ritheka Sundar, research intern at IMPRI

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

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.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.