Displaced by hydropower project, families await rehabilitation in Lohari Village of Uttarakhand

Reported by

Rishabh Shrivastava

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

September 26, 2022

September 26, 2022

Updated on

September 26, 2022

Location of Conflict

Lohari

Dehradun

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Hydroelectric Project

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

64

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

9

ha

Starting Year

2022

State

Uttarakhand

Sector

Power

In April, 2022, 64 families of Lohari village were forcefully displaced from their lands for the under-construction Lakhwar hydropower project in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. A majority residents of this village is constituted by tribes people of the state's Jaunsar-Bawar area. The 120 MW project is being built on river Yamuna and is part of the larger 420 MW Lakhwar-Vyasi hydropower project.

The project was conceptualised in 1972 by the then Congress government and as a part of the undivided Uttar Pradesh. An agreement was signed between the villagers and the government for land acquisition for the dam complex. According to which the government had promised to give alternative land to villagers. A total of 8,495 hectares of land was acquired from 1977-1989. However, the project was stalled for decades and revived only in 2013-14. In 2017, the then state government proposed that it would allot 11 hectares of land to the villagers as part of their resettlement. But a change of government in the following state assembly elections which eventually decided in 2021 to back down on the promise of providing alternate land.

In May 2022, Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam evicted the families living in the Lohari village by giving a 48-hour notice. Their homes, cowsheds, farmlands were soon submerged in the water. Since then, the displaced families have been living in a government school building, protesting against the violation of their rights and in the hope of getting the justice.

The local community alleges that the compensation provided by the government is inadequate and below the market rate. They also claim that the new permanent alternative sites that are being provided to displaced families are too small compared to their original land and insufficient for accommodating their families, cattle, farming activities and other purposes. State government officials on the other hand assert that they have distributed Rs. 15 crores for residents' rehabilitation.

To protest against the project, several village residents even refused to accept the compensation package offered by the government. They claimed the government carried out the the survey exercise forcefully to draw a compensation package. The residents further alleged that in April 2021, the government acquired an additional 0.5 hectares of agricultural land illegally.

As of September 2022, some families have left Lohari and shifted to nearby urban areas in Dehradun, while others continue to stay in a nearby government school they had found shelter in when the village was submerged.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for rehabilitation

Demand for more compensation than promised

Demand for promised land

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Common and Private

Total investment involved (in Crores):

5750

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2021

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 15 [Affected parties may object to land acquisition proceedings initiated within 60 days of the date of publication of the preliminary notification. The collector must give the objectors an opportunity to be heard] Section 16 [Administrator for rehabilitation and resettlement to conduct a survey after publication of preliminary notification for the purposes of preparing a rehabilitation and resettlement scheme. Factors to be recorded include livelihoods lost due to the acquisition. Public hearing must be conducted for affected parties to discuss the R&R scheme.] Section 21 [Notice of land acquisition must be published in a public place for affected parties. Minimum 30 days and maximum of 6 months must be given to allow affected parties to object. Such notice must also be served to the occupier of the land.] Section 28 [Factors to be considered while determining compensation include market value, cost of relocation of business or residence and damage caused due to the land acquisition]; 
National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007
Point 3 (b) [Affected families include any family whose primary place of residence has been adversely affected by the acquisition of land for a project] Clause 7.4.2 [In the case of irrigation or hydel projects, affected families to be given preference in allotment of land. If a family refuses to take land which is offered, they may be given monetary compensation to purchase suitable land elsewhere]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

Community members wrote to the District Magistrate of Dehradun district to raise the following concerns: 1. Inadequate rehabilitation and resettlement package: As per the community, the new permanent alternative resettlement site is small compared to the original site. Also, they find the one time advance payment made by the government to be inadequate. 2. Forceful eviction: Residents of Lohari claim the government gave them a notice of only 48 hours prior to releasing the water. 3. Forcefully carrying out the survey: Government forcefully conducted the survey to assess the compensation for families who have not accepted the compensation amount for the loss of their land and home. 4. Additional acquisition of land - Community members also claim that the government has hastily acquired an additional agricultural land of 0.5 hectares in April 2022.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

The district magistrate had ordered that on the ground of humanity, the affected community members should be provided with adequate land / compensation. A fresh survey of the affected lands is being undertaken for extending the compensation.

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal

Case Number

Appeal No. 35/2021

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

An appeal was filed in the National Green Tribunal against the environmental clearance granted to the Lakhwar Multipurpose Project on technical grounds. The Tribunal had constituted an expert committee to look into the matter on the grounds of seismology, biodiversity and other environmental issues. On the social issues arising out of submergence, the Project Proponent was asked to provide clarification by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The Ministry stated that it found the response satisfactory and recommended further that the remaining private land (53.50 ha) be acquired in accordance with the Right to Fair Compensation and in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The ministry also recommended that an independent monitoring agency should be put in place for proper implementation of the R&R policy, along with a separate Grievance Redressal Mechanism. On September 19, 2922, the Tribunal disposed of the case, issuing directions for the project proponent to abide by the recommendations made by the expert committee.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Financial harassment

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Refusal of compensation

Public campaign

Boycott of official procedures/non-participation in official processes

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam, Revenue Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Yamunaghati Dam (Lakhwar-Vyasi) Project Displaced Peoples’ Committee

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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