Resettlement and Rehabilitation of Developmental Project Affected Persons and Communities

Displacement of human populations in India is mostly initiated by factors such as large scale developmental projects like mining, dam building and industrial establishments apart from political conflicts, natural disasters, and declaration of an area as a National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary or a Biosphere Reserve. In India, a national policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation of project affected families came into force in 2004. However, all displacement and resettlement programs have faced several challenges due to regional issues and administrative delays.

Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) of families and communities displaced during the establishment of any large-scale developmental project is an integral part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan Reports (EIA and EMP). The R&R Plan for project affected families for any proposed or ongoing is prepared based on the National Policy for Rehabilitation and Resettlement, 2003 and as per National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007 (NRRP-2007). The plan for resettlement is implemented in association with the concerned State Government, representatives from the project affected families and other stakeholders in the area. A detailed socio-economic survey has to be conducted before the formulation of the R&R Plan.

Large scale infrastructure projects involuntarily displace many people which give rise to severe economic, social, and environmental problems. People are relocated to new places where their productive skills may be less applicable, production systems are degraded, employment opportunities and income sources are lost. The social fabric within the community is broken if the families from one area are displaced to separate locations. The resettlement of affected people (oustees) must aim to minimize involuntary resettlement, provide a time-bound resettlement plan and compensation for land and other assets affected by the project.

The resettlement package offered to project oustees mostly includes:

  • Compensation: Monetary compensation includes the cost of house and land or it may include land in lieu of land.
  • Physical Rehabilitation: A family that is resettling to an alternative site also receives well constructed residential houses, sanitary facilities, cattle shed, agricultural/ horticulture land, Transportation/displacement grant, etc.
  • Development of village infrastructure: Infrastructure at the resettlement colony is developed at the cost of the project. This includes the development of grazing land, roads, providing power and water supply, construction of schools, panchayat bhawan, sanitation and sewage facilities.
  • Economic rehabilitation: Resettled families are supported in agricultural activities, poultry and non-farm economic activities.

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