There is need for a comprehensive National Rehabilitation Policy. Different States are following different policies in this regard. There is need to raise public awareness on these issues to bring the resettlement and rehabilitation plans on a human footing and to honour the human rights for the ousters.
In case of Sardar Sarovar Projects, Gujarat Government is formulating its policy through various government resolutions. It has decided that each landed ouster shall be entitled to allotment of irrigable land in the state which he chooses for resettlement.
The area of land would be equal to that owned by him earlier and the minimum land given to ban would be 2 hectares. However, there are problems of landless and those natives who were cultivating forest land.
The cutoff date for identifying an adult son in a family has not been fixed. It is important since the adult son is to be treated as a separate family member. The people of 20 submerged villages in Gujarat have been resettled at different locations leading to disintegration of joint families.
The case of Pong Dam is different. The dam was constructed on Beas River in Himachal Pradesh in I960, while it was a part of Punjab. The water is used to irrigate
Rajasthan and therefore it agreed to provide land to the oustees in the command area of Indra Gandhi Canal. However, to carry Beas Water to Rajasthan, another dam had to be built adding 20,722 more families that were displaced and had to be resettled by Rajasthan.
Out of 30,000 families uprooted due to Pong dam, only 16,000 were considered eligible for allotment, as only they were bonafide cultivators for whom 2.25 lakhs acre lands was earmarked. What happened to the rest of the 14,000 families is not answered.
Punjab which is one of the beneficiaries of the dam is totally out of the rehabilitation issue. Only Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are trying to settle the matter. Even those who have been settled, they are in resettlement sites in desert bordering Pakistan, more than thousand kilometers from their native place, thus breaking kinship ties.