ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sardar Sarovar Project-Compensation Schemes for Severely Distressed Canal Affected People

The canal network for the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) requires greater investment than the dam, and will affect far more people than the reservoir. While a majority of canal affected people (CAP) lose only tiny strips of land on field borders, a substantial number lose significant amounts. At its extremity, a small number of severely distressed canal affected people (DCAP) become landless or marginal farmers or suffer intense deprivation in other ways. Proponents and opponents of the SSP have accepted the need to provide special compensation for the DCAP, but no uniform eligibility criterion exists. Various schemes have been suggested for compensating the DCAP. However, the actual policy in practice seems to be to pay compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, only for the amount of land acquired. The government of Gujarat does not even have a record of those handful of farmers who have lost all their land. Nor do the decision-makers have an understanding of even the most basic facts about the full impact of canal building. The main problem is a lack of political will.

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