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Orissa: Draft Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy, 2006

Though Orissa's draft resettlement and rehabilitation policy is an improvement on the national policy, it does not go far enough in ensuring adequate representation of affected women in rehabilitation and other representative committees. The draft, while it has created separate categories for the displaced, with commensurate compensation, still does not specify norms stringent enough to assess land claims put forward by investing companies.


Draft Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy, 2006

Though Orissa’s draft resettlement and rehabilitation policy is animprovement on the national policy, it does not go far enough inensuring adequate representation of affected women inrehabilitation and other representative committees. The draft, whileit has created separate categories for the displaced, withcommensurate compensation, still does not specify norms stringentenough to assess land claims put forward by investing companies.


t took the death of 12 tribals protesting against displacement in Kalinga Nagar for the Orissa government to admit that the state’s Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) policies need a humane face and humane implementation; to realise that the people who had sacrificed their very identity along with their land and hearth cannot be treated as just a drag on the project’s profitability and as an unavoidable burden; that if they stand up to their rights, governments could topple overnight and signing any memoranda of understanding (MoU) would become a more considered process for both industrial houses and those in power.

The tribal angst in the form of protests that echoed from every corner of the state following the Kalinga Nagar tragedy is an indication of the nature of implementation and the impact of development-induced involuntary displacement in Orissa.

The Department for International Development (DFID), working in Orissa for poverty alleviation and livelihood issues has been pushing for a comprehensive single-umbrella R&R policy to replace the 11 different sectoral R&R policies that are operational in Orissa. Kalinga Nagar perhaps might provide the necessary catalyst.

The task has now assumed a great urgency and it is imperative that the Orissa government adopt a decidedly pro-people, pro-displaced and benign R&R policy to cleanse its image stained as a government that trampled over its own poor to bring in industrialisation.

On January 6, 2006 just four days after Kalinga Nagar’s deadly clash, the state government constituted a ministerial committee to finalise just such a R&R policy through democratic opinion building, seeking to address the special needs of affected communities. The base remains the Orissa State Policy on R&R of Project-Affected People Draft 2005 document drafted in consultation with the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) and DFID. The policy will be applicable to all development projects in public, private and joint sectors. It will cover displacement resulting from dams, canals, flood control works, power stations, industries, mining, urban housing and shopping complexes, slums clearance, roads, railways, airports, seaports, conservation, parks/bioreserves/sanctuaries, sports complexes, amusement parks and defence establishments


Development activities in Orissa gained momentum in the early 1950s. Officially, 81,176 families from 1,446 villages were displaced due to development projects from 1950 to 1993 that required the acquisition

Economic and Political Weekly February 4, 2006

of 14,82,626 acres of land. The major development projects which induced largescale displacement in the state during this period were industrial projects – such as Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP), the Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the National Aluminium Company (NALCO).

However 80 per cent of displacement has been for multipurpose dam projects like the Hirakud hydroelectric dam in the early 1950s which displaced 22,000 families in Orissa as well as Madhya Pradesh. When the Rengali Dam project came up in 1971, the resettlement issue raised its head again. In 1973 Orissa came up with its first resettlement policy and in 1977 conceded land for land as the basis for rehabilitation. In 1989 the first mining sector policy was formulated and in 1994, Orissa formulated it first comprehensive, and for its time, progressive policy for all water resources projects.

Over the last decade, both development and its accompanying displacement have accelerated. The focus has been on industrial and mining projects till now. UNDP estimates that till date one lakh people in Orissa have been displaced since independence while 20 lakhs have been affected by development projects.

The Orissa government has realised that if mineral riches are its unique selling proposition (USP) and if these are to be harvested, it should leave no scope for violent resistance and consequent exit of industrial investment. The Draft R&R Policy, 2006 provides liberal and equitable provisions for the displaced. It has improved on the 2003 National Policy for R&R on various clauses. While the national policy is applicable only where 500 families are displaced in the plains and 250 families in the hilly/ scheduled areas, the Draft Orissa Policy, 2006 does away with any such constraint. The scheduled areas in Orissa, particularly, are populated by small, scattered tribal settlements.

The national policy defines displaced families as tenure holders, tenants, government leaseholders or owners of property in affected zones. The draft Orissa policy has shown a sensitivity when it provides extended displaced rehabilitation benefits not only to one major son (irrespective of his marital status), the current practice, but also treats as an individual family unit – minor orphans who have lost both parents (the 1999 cyclone taught this lesson), physically and mentally challenged persons irrespective of age or sex, unmarried daughters/sisters above 25 years of age as well as a woman divorcee/deserted woman and a widow remaining unmarried. This provision makes women non-dependant.

Till date the practice of R&R has been more than half blind to the plight of the displaced woman. While displacement from farming and forest-based livelihoods deprived them of their economic strength and decision-making position within the family, socio-cultural trauma is worse for women evicted from their familiar social networks. The R&R benefits made no attempt to ameliorate this. If a job per family was assured, the family itself wanted the son to get it. If ITI training was available, the daughter (even when there were no sons in the family) was either found educationally wanting or could not socially fit into the “class IV” job opportunities, many of these relating to drivers and mechanics.

In the national policy, projected affected beneficiaries include those who may or may not have land and may not have been displaced but whose property, residence and source of livelihood has been “substantially affected” and who have been resident in the area for more than three years. The draft Orissa policy only qualifies the term “substantially affected” and pegs it at a loss of more than 75 per cent of a person’s annual income. This clarifies a potentially contentious situation.

The draft Orissa policy has classified all development projects into three categories, which the national policy has not done. While industrial and mining projects come under one classification, irrigation projects, national parks and sanctuaries have been clubbed together. Linear projects like roads, railway lines and power lines make up the third category. The nature of the projects and size of displacement are different for various categories of development projects and hence the compensation packages have been tailored accordingly.

The Hirakud multipurpose river valley project on the river Mahanadi in Sambalpur district was the first major project to be conceived after independence. The project started in 1948 and was completed in 1957. The main purpose of the project was to facilitate intensive cultivation, increase productivity, and ensure security against uncertainty and loss of agriculture. The reservoir resulted in the submergence of 74,300 hectares of land including 23,988 hectares of forest cover and 49,888 hectares of agricultural land. The project affected 285 villages of which 249 villages were (108 fully and 141 partly affected) in Orissa and 36 villages (3 fully and 33 partly) in Madhya Pradesh. Due to displacement, the livelihood of 22,141 families consisting of 1,10,000 people was disrupted. Around 4,744 families, all belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, were displaced forcibly with the help of the police. Only 2,185 families were resettled in 17 rehabilitation camps; 3,134.71 acres of private land and 221.91 acres of forest were acquired for the resettlement of displaced persons.

Compensation for Displaced

Development projects for irrigation, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks invariably displaced large population while they have little or no alternate source of livelihood to offer, unlike industrial projects which have the potential to provide jobs, even if in limited numbers.

Hence this is the only category of projects where the land for land offer has been made to those evicted. Because these projects have invariably come up in tribal dominated areas, the rehabilitation offers more for the scheduled tribe category of displaced in the form of two acres of irrigated land and three acres of nonirrigated land, an acre more of the latter than what general category of displaced persons get. In addition, all displaced persons (DPs) get one-tenth of an acre for homestead and Rs 25,000 for self relocation. All DPs get in addition another 50,000 for house and cattle shed construction. In case of unavailability of land, Rs 30,000 and Rs 15,000 per acre of irrigated and non-irrigated land respectively will be given. Reclamation cost of land – usually grazing land is converted for this purpose – will also be given. An allowance of Rs 1,000 will be given for 12 running months for temporary shed and transportation.

Project Affected Peoples (PAPs), other than DPs, too get land for land even if they still retain their homestead. They get an equal area of irrigated land and double the area of non-irrigated agricultural land of what they lose but the limit is set at a maximum of two and four acres respectively, no matter if they lose more than that. If land is not available, they get Rs 50,000 per acre of irrigated land and Rs 25,000 per non-irrigated land.

Under the category of industrial and mining projects employment is the prime rehabilitation benefit to the DPs. One

Economic and Political Weekly February 4, 2006 assured employment per family is compulsory. Current policies left out in the cold all other sons and daughters from any benefit. What’s more, the entire family with an average size of six to eight members depended on that one job-holder. In many instances it has been seen that the son sets up his separate family after the father has nominated him as the beneficiary leaving the other dependants to fend for themselves.

The draft policy now counts each major son and 25-plus daughter as separate families. Currently daughters above 30 years of age are eligible. Hence each is entitled to a job under the project as well as homestead land and house building amount. Preference for jobs however will be given to those who have lost more agricultural land and the homestead. Vocational training for self-employment to one member of a family is compulsory. That the draft has kept in mind the trend of increasingly mechanised industrial and mining operations is apparent when it provides a maximum of Rs 2 lakh in the event of jobs not being available or if a DP opts for cash.

In addition, project authorities will construct shops and service units at feasible locations in the relocated colony to facilitate self-employment among the displaced. Preference will be given to STs and SCs. Provision of homestead land, payment for self relocation and house building assistance remain the same as in other project categories.

Linear projects do not displace a large population at one place; hence these projects will not discriminate between bonafide landowners and unobjectionable encroachers subject to a maximum of one standard acre for the latter. Encroachers without a homestead land too will get onetenth of an acre for homestead and cash for building the structure. Objectionable encroachers without homestead get only cost of structure.

It has been a long-standing issue with forest people specifically that communities residing for decades in the forest do not possess legal ownership documents. The national policy has partly dealt with the issue by categorising forest encroachers into pre-1980 and post-1980 encroachers. But this division does not hold out when people resist as one, as is the case in the Kalinga Nagar resistance where many of the agitators are encroachers from Jharkhand who had worked as daily labour when National Highway (NH)-5 was being laid, which is why a bandh was observed in Jharkhand on the same day that Orissa did.

The Orissa draft policy, however, has shown lack of progressive thinking when it is silent on representation of women in the R&R project level committee which decides on crucial issues, leaving it instead to local authorities to decide the participation of women. The national policy however spells out their inclusion. Local people’s participation is increasingly being recognised as crucial to the rehabilitation and development process. When women already form 33 per cent of local self-governments, their inclusion in R&R committees is un-negotiable.

The draft however provides for a rehabilitation-cum-periphery development committee headed by district collectors. The draft policy ministerial committee is also looking at a provision for industrial projects wherein not more than 30 per cent of total acquired land will be used for industrial unit, official and residential buildings. The remaining land should provide for facilities to be used for local population while the largest chunk of land should be developed as a green cover.

The crux of the resistance at the Kalinga Nagar rose from the feeling of being cheated. Land that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDCO) had bought from the displaced people at Rs 15,000 to Rs 35,000 per acre between 1992 and 1996 was being sold (after industrial value addition, of course) at Rs 3.5 lakh per acre

– at 100 per cent “profit” – to the companies. The local people viewed the government’s role here as nothing more than a profit-seeking middleman.

In the light of this, the draft committee is also considering if the government should be well advised to step away from being part of the land purchase process. Instead the companies themselves can negotiate within a market-based price band with landowners themselves.

Land and Displacement

Excess land acquired for projects results in larger avoidable displacements. This has been a constant feature of every project in Orissa. Excess than needed land for a commercial entity is capital investment with assured returns though it is ostensibly acquired for future expansion. The Hindustan Aeronautics was established in 1963 at Sunabeda in tribal-dominated Koraput district for manufacturing defence components. HAL acquired 9,301 acres of land, displaced 468 families from 10 villages. HAL had originallyacquiredthis huge area for the establishment of all five units of its fighter plane MIG project. However, only one unit was established and the other four units were not shifted to this site; the extra land acquired by HAL from the villagers has never been used. This extra land has been allotted to private parties instead of being returned to the displaced people. A boundary wall was then built around the entire acquired land thus cutting off the displaced people from important access routes and restricting outside access to the villagers still residing inside in their original homestead areas.

Since 2002, the Orissa government has signed a total of 37 MoUs. Put together they promise to bring in a total investment of Rs 1,18,000 crore. While a majority of those companies project less than one MTPA capacity and have been allotted 200 to 250 acres of land, some like Aarti Steel setting up a plant in Ghantikhal in Athagarh, Cuttack district has been given 1,500 acres. In Orissa, it is the sole discretion of Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa (IPICOL) to assess and decide the amount of land a project would need. Its decision is communicated to the relevant district collector and that is it. Positively viewed this system leaves little scope for red tape but single layer decisions on such matters are also more susceptible to unfair practices. The land requirement details submitted in the proposal made by companies need to be scrutinised rigorously in a threestage process.

Benefit Delayed Is Benefit Denied

NALCO acquired a total of 10,058 acres of land of which 2,427.30 acres was for bauxite mines, 2,638.96 acres for construction of the township and 6,992.50 acres for setting up of the alumina plant. The following is an example of the common but gross injustices that take place during implementation of otherwise fair R&R policies – NALCO in Koraput district paid compensation for land and houses to 59 displaced families in Champapadr and 16 families in Koraguda village in 1982. When these two villages were finally and physically shifted to Sahid Laxmana Naik Nagar Colony, Damanjodi on December 23, 2003, 42 families have swelled their numbers in the intervening 21 years, families who in enumeration papers simply did not exist.

Economic and Political Weekly February 4, 2006

Hence they had no existence in the resettlement colony in 2003. In fact they belonged nowhere.

A similar situation arises in the case of job assurances as part of the compensation package. People lose their land and livelihood. Industries get delayed like TISCO’s Gopalpur steel project in Ganjam district, or are not set up at all despite having acquired land and displaced the original holders. In many such cases as in Kalinga Nagar, the people just stay on, use the land, as before and when asked to leave years later, resistance and violence is the outcome. These are lose-lose situations for both evictor and the evicted. Either the former pays some more or the evicted finds that the market prices of land have risen way beyond his recompense amount.

It also happens that industrial units may be fully operational, making a profit but promised jobs are not forthcoming to the displaced as in the case of the Rourkela Steel Plant, a central government PSU. According to the revenue department of government of Orissa, on RSP’s behalf, it acquired 14,690 acres of private land and 4,873 acres of government land in 1959-60, affecting 4,094, mostly tribal families and monetarily compensated them adequately from the Rs 1.30 crore RSP had deposited with it in 1955. The clause for providing one job to each displaced family was the responsibility of RSP. According to the Orissa government, 1,098 families are still to get the promised jobs even though 50 years have passed and that the RSP management seems impervious to this issue. The oustees, many multiple displaced among them, agitate from time to time pressing for their demand. For much of the displacement-related unrest in Orissa, central government undertakings are to share their part of the blame.


Although the draft R&R Policy, 2006 appears to be a thoughtful document, the R&R clause in all the MoUs signed in recent times have just two clauses. Clause 5 (A) (b) which says – “For rehabilitation and displaced families, R&R packages would be implemented as per prevailing guidelines and practices of government of Orissa”. Clause 5 (G)(a) states – “In the matter of employment, preference will be given to the people of Orissa subject to their possessing the necessary qualifications; [concerned industry] will make every effort to improve their skill levels, if necessary through specialised training. For this purpose state government will nomi-are exhorted to contribute for those whose nate a nodal agency to coordinate with the land they reap, Orissa’s R&R Policy, 2006 [concerned industry].” If this is all that the better be a tough gatekeeper. droves of industries raring to come in and make their fortune from Orissa’s minerals, Email:


Economic and Political Weekly February 4, 2006

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