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Chairperson NCST Presents Special Report on “Indira Sagar Polavaram Project Affected
Chairperson NCST Presents Special Report on “Indira Sagar Polavaram Project Affected Tribal People to President of India

NEW DELHI. Dr. Nand Kumar Sai, Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), along with Ms. Anusuiya Uikey, Vice Chairperson and Members of the Commission today called on the President of India Shri Ramnath Kovind and presented a special report of the Commission on “Indira Sagar Polavaram Project Affected Tribal People” to him. Shri Raghav Chandra, Secretary in the Commission was also present on the occasion. The report and recommendations are under Article 338A(5)(e) of the Constitution on the measures to be taken by the Government of Andhra Pradesh for the effective implementation of constitutional safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes who are affected on account of Polavaram Irrigation Project, Andhra Pradesh.

The Commission visited the Polavaram Irrigation Project in Andhra Pradesh from 26th to 28th March, 2018 for an on the spot assessment of resettlement and rehabilitation of project affected Scheduled Tribe people. In the field, the Commission interacted with the projected affected people and discussed the issues with concerned officials at project site. After visit to the project site, the Commission also held discussions with Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on 28th March, 2019. Thereafter, a Special Report was prepared and submitted to the President of India on 3rd July,2018. Recommendations made in the Report are as follows:

The Commission, while interacting with affected Scheduled Tribe people was informed that in many cases, the alternative land given to them in lieu of the acquired land is not cultivable. Either it is rocky terrain or there is no water. The Commission, therefore, recommends that the state government should provide only land fit for agriculture to PDFs/PFs within the command area of Polavaram Irrigation Project with proper irrigation facilities.

The Commission noted that many ST people without land holdings were also shifted. They were hitherto depending on minor forest produces for their livelihood. Now that they are shifted, they are deprived of their livelihood. The State Government needs to take care of them by providing alternative means of livelihood.

The Commission apprehended that once the dam project is physically completed and affected people are shifted to new places, the concerned R&R officials will be transferred to new responsibilities and it is likely that the people rehabilitated will be left to their destiny and will have to fend to themselves without any supporting institutional mechanism. Commission, therefore, strongly recommends that there should be a dedicated team of R&R officials to be stationed in rehabilitation area to oversee the developmental activities and other welfare measures for a period of at least 5 years from completion of the project.
(Updated on July 3rd, 2018)