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Published : February 25, 2015 | Author : Mohit.Daulatani
Category : Human Rights laws | Total Views : 1865 | Rating :

3rd year Law student from National Law University, Assam

Displacement Is a Dark Aspect of Planned Development- A Human Right Approach

Since independence in 1947, India has been undertaking development projects to improve the quality of life of its people through planned development under the successive Five-Year Plans. Such projects include dams, power, mining, industrial and allied infrastructures, transport network, urban development, commercial forestry and other projects. Some of these projects have brought adverse effects in the form of displacement of people from their original place of habitation due to large-scale land acquisition.

Development-induced displacement in the country has brought severe economic, social and environmental problems to the displaced people. Magnitude of people displaced and severity of the problems due to multipurpose dam projects is too high as compared to other projects in the country. They also lead to submergence of high quality of land, destruction of the watershed, disturb the delicate ecological balance and distort the surrounding environment, loss of wildlife and precious irreplaceable flora, etc. and most notorious problems of flooding, water-logging and salinity. The long drawn out process of displacement has caused widespread traumatic psychological and socio-cultural consequences. These include the dismantling of traditional production systems, desecration of ancestral sacred zones, graves and places of worship, scattering of kinship groups, disruptions of family system etc.

Vijaya Paranjpye (1988) puts the number of people those displaced due to dams alone at 21.6 million. According to another estimate, the country’s development programs have caused the displacement of approximately 20 million people over roughly four decades, but that as many as 75 percent of these people have not been rehabilitated. A number of studies across the country have documented multiple displacements of people, successive displacement of the same families from one place to another following execution of development projects in those areas. The displaced people of Rihand dam, Hirakud dam and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are some of the examples in the country.

In the early 1960s, the displaced people of Rihand dam had to face displacement from their new place of habitation for the second time in 1970s because of the coal mining projects, and again for the third or fourth time in mid-1980s due to the setting up of a number of industries. In each time of their displacement, they were progressively leading to poverty.

Displacement of people from one place to another in the name of development is a very cruel step against the people who are being displaced, though the development is for the greater good of the country but this affects the basic human right of the people who are being displaced. These people are never provided with proportionate amount of money or another place to live. Their human right to live peacefully is being infringed in the name of the development of the country. These people have to face problems like reestablishment of their livelihood, they face problem in getting health and educational service as they have to move again and again to different places, the government does not provide these people with basic need to live and also they are not assured another job in case they have to quit their present source of money due to their displacement, though planned development is a very important aspect for the overall development of the country but the problem that these small group of people suffer due to such displacement is affecting their human right and the government should consider these people while planning for development of any particular area. We will further discuss the problems that are caused by displacement in detail in our final draft.

1. Concept of Planned Development
Before independence, not much was done neither by Muslim rulers nor by Britishers for the development of Indian masses. Britishers, however, did launch some development programmes and enacted some laws to bring changes in the social and material life of the people of India. The major problem that confronted India immediately after independence was how to remake, and how best to reconstruct, renovate, regenerate and reorient the vast multitude of humanity living in rural areas (about 82 per cent in 1947). Rural reconstruction means the adoption of a new pattern of life, which should be based on the habits, traditions and institutions of the villagers. After independence, in accordance with the general and long-term goals of the Indian nation and the Directive Principles as laid down in our Constitution, the national government took an immediate initiative to appoint the Planning Commission in 1950 to coordinate all state and central plans and suggest ways and means to remove social inequalities and to bring social change in the desired direction.

Planned development leads the removal of social inequalities and giving people an opportunity to live a better quality life. As per the 3rd Five Year plan, one of its objective was “The more immediate problem is to combat the curse of poverty, with all the ills that it produces, and it is recognized that this can only be done by social and economic advance, so as to build up a technologically mature society and a social order which offers equal opportunities to all citizens.” In the name of providing equal opportunities to all the citizens planned development in India though doing good for the public at large but for a portion of Indian population, planned development is like forced development.

1.1. Forced Development
Planned Development changes into forced development when in the name of development people are forced to leave their house, their property as well as their livelihood for the benefit of the public at large, planned development changes to force development. According to a report, during the last fifty years, some 3,300 big dams have been constructed in India. Many of them have led to large-scale forced eviction of vulnerable groups. The situation of the tribal people is of special concern as they constitute 40 to 50 percent of the displaced population‟. The brutality of displacement due to the building of dams was dramatically highlighted during the agitation over the Sardar Sarovar Dam. It has been called “India’s most controversial dam project”. Medha Patekar, spearhead the anti-dam movement known as the Narmada Bachao Andolon. Thus planned development is a step towards the welfare of the country, welfare of the public at large, but due to lack of government rehabilitation programme and also ignorance of backward rural people has led to the change in the concept of planned development to forced development.

2. Displacement: Violation of Basic Human Right
Displacement or more clearly development induced displacement is a process in which, due to the process of development (mining, etc.) people are forced to leave their house, their job or in other words people are displaced from their house.

During the last two decades of the previous century, the magnitude of forced population displacements caused by development programmes was in order of 10 million people each year, or some 200 million people globally during that period (Cernea, 2000:3659). The increasing construction of development projects consistently displaced a massive number of tribal, poor and weaker sections. Sajal Nag (2001: 4758) states that between 1951 and 1990 at least 21.3 million people were deprived of their sustenance by development. These development projects include dams (16.4 millions) mines (2.55 millions) industrial establishments and parks (0.6 millions) of which 25 percent have been resettled partially. Forty percent of these displaced persons and projects affected persons were tribals and another 20 percent were dalits. In fact, one in every seven Indian tribal is a displaced person. The government of India admits that 15.5 million displaced persons when it drafted a national rehabilitation policy in 1994. In the name of development, people have been pushed off the land; their forests and water have been taken over by the state and the market, so that they have been deprived of everything except their labour power. The coercive aspect of the state power has impoverished the people through their ecological, economic, cultural and political marginalization, which prepares the ground for a resistance and discontent movements at the grassroots against these modernizing and developmental projects.

How this displacement is violating the basic human right of a person, it can be explained by an example:

‘A’ with his family of four B (wife), C (son), and D (daughter) was forced to leave his house and to migrate to another place as the place where A’s house was situated came under a government mining project. As ‘A’ was working in a mill near his house, due to his displacement he had to quit his job. Here A’s right to live, right to livelihood has been infringed. His children had to leave their school and their right to education was also violated. It is clear that development induced displacement leads to violation of basic human right. Majority of the tribal and indigenous communities faces this kind of displacement.

2.1. Rights of the Indigenous Communities
2.1.1. Rights Related to Land and Resources
The rights of land ownership is guaranteed in the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention No. 107 of 1957 concerning the protection and integration of indigenous and Semi-Tribal populations in independent countries, revised ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries Convention No.169 of 1989, and UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights. All these recognizes the ownership rights of tribal people, protection of natural resources and the right of the indigenous peoples to participate and give their consent in the use, management and conservation of these resources and consultation in the exploration and exploitation of such resources and in the benefits from them. It urges the government to respect the cultures and spiritual values of the peoples concerned of their relationship with the lands and territories. It also makes the provision of adequate penalties for unauthorized intrusion upon or use of lands of the peoples.

2.1.2. Rights Related to Culture
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 recognizes the “right to culture” and the Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 also recognizes the right of everyone to take part in the cultural life. Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 recognizes the cultural rights of minorities, which is more relevant for indigenous peoples. The Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Cooperation 1966, Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice 1978, ILO Convention No. 169 and many other laws states that each culture has a dignity which must be respected and preserved.

2.1.3. Rights to Education
The ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples 1989, the UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights recognizes and advocates for the right to education of indigenous peoples.

2.1.4. Rights Related to Development
The Declaration on Right to Development 1986 states right to development as an inalienable human right and the ILO Convention No. 169 declares that the peoples concerned shall have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or other wise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their economic, social and cultural development.

In India, development induced displacement has violated all these human rights of the people.

3. Displacement: A Dark Aspect of Development
Development induced displacement as discussed in the previous chapter is a cruel process where people are forcefully removed from their house and are forced to migrate somewhere else. It is clearly a very dark aspect of development. There are always two sides of a coin, through development the government or the authorities shows that as the planned development is taking place the country’s international image is building, whereas on the other hand due to this development people, the minority people are forced to leave their home and are forced to migrate. Therefore, on one side through displacement the authorities are showing the brighter side of planned development but on the other hand, the darker side of development is the forced displacement of the people. Displacement dismantles the existing socio-cultural fabric and economic base of the displaced families, which has been built over several centuries and generations. It disperses and fragments communities, dismantles patterns of social organization and interpersonal ties; kinship groups becomes scattered as well. Displacement reduces the employment opportunities for the tribal population and causes impoverishment, thus denying them from their right to employment, work and livelihood. It has increased the drop out rates and caused a wider loss to the children of the displaced tribal and denied their basic right to education and literacy. There are project dependent people besides the project affected. In a village setting, the productive land is a collective source of livelihood not only to its owners but also but also to the village as a whole. Displacement not only evicts the owner from the land and destroys his livelihood and employment opportunities but also affects the families like the agricultural laborers, village servants (blacksmiths, carpenter, cobbler, and so on). These are primarily who work as labourers, milkmen, tillers, harvesters, cow and sheep rearers, and flower and vegetable vendors. Displacement of tribal population from their habitat is only one part of the story. There has been large-scale movement of non-tribals into the development project areas, as work contractors, shopkeepers, transporters, labourers etc. Many of them over a period of time have got permanently settled in the project sites and at times places beyond, which are in the midst of vast tracts of tribal habitation. Thus, these tribals have been subject to various kinds of socio-economic exploitation by these settlers in their own land. The Human Rights Declaration states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security. Under the heading of economic, social and cultural rights, all governments are expected to try progressively to improve the living conditions of their citizens. But the forced displacements have created major socio-economic risks.

The displaced people faces problems like landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalization, increased morbidity and mortality, food insecurity, loss of access to common property, and social discrimination. Hence, though development is in the good of the country but the displacement causing due to this development and the problems that these tribal people are facing cannot be ignored. The authorities should take some necessary steps to help these displaced people.

Barring a few exceptions, most pre-1980 projects did not have a clear-cut resettlement plan. Resettlement was undertaken on a case-to-case basis. To mention a few, there were projects like the Nagarjunasagar, Hirakud, Tungabhadra and Mayurakshi dams; the Rourkela, Bhilai and Bokaro steel plants, several defense establishments, coal mines, etc, which did offer resettlement in the form of house sites to the displaced. Only National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Coal India Limited (CIL), two government undertakings have formulated a Resettlement and Rehabilitation policy (R and R policy) and constituted R&R departments to administer it.

4. Conclusion
During the research the researcher reached to an understanding that as we see India developing to a modern country and thinking that our country is modernizing, we are ignoring a very simple truth that the roots of the country are still with the rural/tribal population. India is popular for its culture, for its religious diversity, for its tradition and in lieu of transforming the country into a modern developed country the authorities and also the urban population has ignored the importance of the minorities, of those poor people who despite of having an equal status as a citizen have to sacrifice their land, their livelihood and also their future for the future of the country. Though development is a process for raising the standard of living of the people of the country but it is ironic that in the same process of development a part of the society have to get displaced and in some cases they have to live in poor condition. The government plans for the development, for coal mining, constructing dams, but in this planning they skip planning for the people who will get negatively affected by this development. There is an article which quoted this, “In the post-independence period, the development projects deemed to be temples of progress, ultimately turned out to be “graveyards” for millions of these PAFs(Project Affected Families).” It is a bitter truth, due to the ignorance of the government the people who are living in a particular area have to leave their home and had to migrate. Although planned development did bring development but the cost has been huge. There is no denial of the fact that if the quality of life of people is to be improved, development projects are a must but there is general consensus now that development should not be at the cost of people and their environment.

The need to avoid such large scale displacement, particularly of tribal and in case of unavoidable displacement, their ultimate resettlement and rehabilitation has become central issues of the developmental process itself. The different factors responsible for poor state of rehabilitation includes poor planning of the project, poor data base, insufficient allotment of fund on R&R by a technical persons who has no insight for the problem etc.

If the government by providing sufficient funds to the affected families and providing them accommodation or transfer them to another house then this problem of displacement can be lower down.
# “Development Induced Displacement”, http://ncw.nic.in/, visited on 09-09-2014
# “Planned Development” http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/
# “3rd Five Year Plan” http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/3rd/3planch1.html
# “Tribal Displacement and Human Rights Violation in Orissa” in http://sahoo.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/displacement-human-right.pdf
# “Tribal Displacement and Human Rights Violation in Orissa” in http://sahoo.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/displacement-human-right.pdf
# “Tribal Displacement and Human Rights Violation in Orissa” in http://sahoo.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/displacement-human-right.pdf
# “Displacement and Rehabilitation of People Due to Developmental Projects” in

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