[Watch/Read] Stranded In Hope - 20 Years Later, Narmada Displaced Still Struggle For Their Land
Twenty-two years ago, in 1994, Jugla Vasave was ousted from his home and farm in Chimalkhadi village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, when the Sardar Sarovar Dam was built along the Narmada river. He, along with many others, was promised to be rehabilitated with an arable land by the state government. The state government had committed to giving project-affected people a land to be rehabilitated, so a hopeful Jugla waited anxiously for his land but never received intimation about it.
Paper-based rehabilitation programme
Since 1985, over 41,000 families have been displaced in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat by the Sardar Sarovar Project. In Maharashtra, 4,262 families have been identified so far as project-affected people. Farmers by occupation, many of these people are victims of a paper-based rehabilitation programme.
Many families which have been rehabilitated have cried foul for various reasons – the land they have received under rehabilitation is uncultivable or water logged in hundreds of cases. Many have not been given sufficient land, more have wrongly been given privately owned lands.
Land allotted but still living in a makeshift house
Tired of being a hopeless nomad, Jugla set up his makeshift house on top of an arid hill and got to work as a daily labourer. When Chetan Salve, Video Volunteers correspondent from Maharashtra investigated into the matter, Jugla found that the state government had in fact issued an allotment order for the land without informing him. Worse, the land allotted to him was a grazing area which would submerge under the Narmada water during monsoons.
The government had allotted Jugla a land that could not be cultivated. But Jugla was not alone in this ordeal. Along with him, there were seven more farmers who were given arid lands in place of cultivatable lands. Once proud farmers from the banks of the Narmada river, these men have been reduced to being wage labourers, making ends meet by doing odd jobs.
However, their demands are not high. They simply ask for what is rightfully theirs. “We are happy with whatever land that government gives us, as long as it is cultivatable,” says Jugla.
Call to Action: Video Volunteers and The Logical Indian appeals to the community members to help Jugla and his community get their right to land and livelihood as promised by the Maharashtra state government. Please call or message Vinay Gosavi, the Deputy Collector, Sardar Sarovar Project, Taloda, Maharashtra on +91-2567-232115 and demand that he take corrective measures to rehabilitate Jugla.Video Volunteers is a global initiative that empowers disadvantaged communities with story and data-gathering skills, and trains representatives of these communities to use video journalism as a tool to mobilise for change.
[Video Volunteers is a global initiative that empowers disadvantaged communities with story and data-gathering skills, and trains representatives of these communities to use video journalism as a tool to mobilise for change.]