Court rules in favour of tribals

By Savvy Soumya Misra
Published: Tuesday 15 September 2009

Two villages were forcibly evacuated (Credit: COURTESY: NBA) Orders rehabilitation of 900 families affected by Man dam

for 12 years, tribal families displaced by Man dam in Madhya Pradesh have been fighting for rehabilitation. On August 11, the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court gave them relief by ordering the state to provide two hectares of agricultural land to adult sons of tribal families displaced by the dam. The judgement was given on a public interest petition demanding rehabilitation of tribal families of 17 villages submerged by the dam reservoir. The dam, completed in 2005, is in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district and is one of the 30 large dams in the Narmada valley.

The court directed the state to provide the land within four months. "The villagers' struggle has paid off. About 900 families are likely to benefit from this judgement," said Chittroopa Palit of the Narmada Bachao Andolan that supported the villagers. Though pleased with the direction of the court, tribals are aware the state government will not easily allot land to the displaced. In the Indira Sagar Dam case, displaced people are still waiting to get land despite court directions, Palit said.

Displaced families who had purchased land from the Special Rehabilitation Grant awarded earlier by the Narmada Valley Development authority will not be given land under this order. "We will challenge this either in the high court or the Supreme Court. Those who availed the grant did so after a lot of resistance. They wanted land, not money," said Palit.

The state government had forcibly evacuated two villages by demolishing schools and cutting water supply. A two-member committee appointed by the state for grievance redressal was of little help.

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