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THE MAHESHWAR DAM IN INDIA

A Report by
Heffa Schücking
March 1999

II. THE INVESTIGATION

1. Travel Stations

All in all, I visited 10 villages in the submergence zone of the dam. In seven of these villages (Jalud, Sulgaon, Pathrad, Lepa, Amlatha, Bhattyan and Mardana) individual and group interviews were conducted and taped. Between 20 and 200 people participated in the group interviews in each village. Special care was taken to interview representatives of the main social groupings, as well as men and women of different age groups from the above villages. Furthermore, meetings took place with representatives of S. Kumars, MPEB, Bayernwerk, the German Embassy, non-governmental organizations, independent experts and the advisor to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Most of these meetings were also taped.

2. Terms of the Investigation

The main focus of the investigation were the social impacts of the project and the plans for resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) of the affected people. The following criteria were employed, which in our experience are necessary prerequisites for successful R&R:
* The existence of a comprehensive and accurate information base regarding the number of people affected, their income structure, livelihoods and resource utilization.
* The availability of land in suitable quality and area to resettle village communities as intact social entities.
* Full information and participation of project-affected people in planning, design and implementation from project inception to completion. Furthermore, resettlement measures have to be assessed in regard to the provisions laid out in relevant state or national policies. In this case, the measuring stick was the 1989 Resettlement Policy of Madhya Pradesh for the Narmada Projects. Major provisions of this policy are:
* Every land-owning family that will lose more than 25% of its land is entitled to land-for-land compensation, with a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 acres to be provided.
* Long-term encroachers will be treated on par with land-owners.
* Villages should be resettled as communities.
* Each person whose land is being acquired for purposes of the project is considered a project-affected person.

To part III


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