Residents of Chaukhand village in Madhya Pradesh have been opposing the construction of a dam on Kharak river passing through Barwani and Khargone districts. The state government began land acquisition for the dam in 2011 even before the project got forest clearance under the Forest Conservation Act and the environment clearance under the Environment (Protection) Act. Construction work began in early 2012 but was stalled due to protests by the residents, who demanded a comprehensive rehabilitation policy before the dam came up.
In July 2012, some people from the villages of Juna Bilwa, Kaniapani and Choukhand were forced to accept a paltry compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre as opposed to the district collectors guidelines, which fixed the compensation amount at Rs 1.60 lakh for noncultivable land and Rs 3.20 lakh for irrigated land. The farmers were informed that they would be paid compensation in three instalments, and they were threatened with imprisonment until the projects completion if they protested.
Meanwhile, residents of four other affected villages in Barwani districtKamat, Kaniapani, Julwania and Muvasiawere denied compensation. These villages are located in reserve forest area. While some of the tribal residents have been given land rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), the FRA claims of other farmers are pending.
Residents of all the affected villages in both the districts have been demanding rehabilitation since 2011 under the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan. The construction of the dam displaced more than 300 families in the two districts, with some agricultural fields submerging under the water released from the dam. In 2015, officials cracked down on their protests, resorting to brutal lathicharge of the tribals, including women and children, and arrest of 27 people (https://www.newsclick.in/fouryearstribalsmpstillawaitcompensationkharakdamconstruction). The matter was pushed to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which ordered rehabilitation in July 2016.
In January 2017, the Supreme Court also categorically ordered that the displaced people be rehabilitated under the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Rehabilitation Policy of 2002 and the resettlement and rehabilitation policy of 2008 under the Narmada Valley Development Authority. However, no compensation has been paid yet (https://www.newsclick.in/fouryearstribalsmpstillawaitcompensationkharakdamconstruction).