Landowners Affected by Renukaji Dam Project Await Fair Compensation

Reported by

Lokendra

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

Updated on

September 22, 2016

Location of Conflict

Sirmaur

Sirmaur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Multipurpose Dam

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

748

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

2239

ha

Starting Year

2001

State

Himachal Pradesh

Sector

Infrastructure

Over a decade later, the families affected by the construction of the proposed Renukaji Dam project continue to await fair compensation and resettlement in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. 
The multi-purpose project was approved in 1994 and handed over to the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (HPPCL). The central government plans to construct a 148m-high rockfill dam on the Giri river, a tributary of the Yamuna, at Dadahu village, which would lead to the submergence of 1508 hectares of land. The project aims to supply drinking water to Delhi and parts of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. It would also provide 40 MW power to HP.  
The project allocation is 2239 hectares of area, of which 909 ha is forestland inclusive of 49 ha of the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary. It would affect 748 families in 37 villages. In 2009, the project was declared a national project. Since the cost has shot up to  Rs. 6,946.99 crore
However, the project came under fire due to rehabilitation and environmental concerns. 
In 2009, the project-affected families intensified protests against the land acquisition process under the banner of Renuka Bandh Jan Sangharsh Samiti. However, in October, after the project was granted environmental clearance. The affected submitted a memorandum to the state and central government bodies demanding to scrap the project. They also objected to the state acquiring agricultural lands under the “urgency clause” of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. 
In 2010 – 11, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) put a stay on the project after locals raised objections over the inaccuracies in the granted environmental clearance. According to a report, the locals were also concerned about the impact on “the local ecology and the absence of a social impact assessment study”, and the discrepancies in the compensation rates offered for the land. Consequently, they filed RTIs appeals and PILs. The petitioners also claimed that HPPCL did not account for all the trees which would be submerged in their application for forest clearance. 
Regardless, Forest Advisory Committee granted forest clearance to the project in August 2014
In 2015, one of the affected villages refused to give a No Objection Certificate to the project citing ecological concerns. 
In the same year, the Supreme Court directed the central government to expedite the process of giving funds to the state for land acquisition cost, amongst other project-related aspects. According to an article, it also stated that while the project could not be “killed”, the landowners should not suffer. 
In February 2016, NGT upheld the environment clearance of the project and dismissed the challenge to the land acquisition. In May, an expert committee by NGT reviewed the rehabilitation and resettlement plan for the dam. Subsequently, it recommended to ensure rehabilitating all the project-affected families at the earliest and to tackle the paucity of funds.
In October that year, the centre released a portion of funds.  
In September 2018, villagers displaced by the dam refused to accept land offered to them as compensation, claiming that the new land was barren. They also claimed that they were being compensated as per the 1894 act, while the contractors were offered rates according to LARR 2013. 
On November 02, 2018, the High Court ruled to uphold the enhanced market value of the land. Earlier, the state government had challenged the verdict of a lower court
On January 11, 2019, the governments of Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttarakhand signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. However, the project was yet to receive Stage II forest clearance
In July 2019, the High Court again ruled in favour of a petitioner and directed HPPCL to only pay compensation based on enhanced rates. 
In July 2020, the Himachal Pradesh Governor requested the central government to expedite approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. He stated that the affected were not being compensated in time due to a lack of funds.  
Since the compensation process is still ongoing. 
In April 2021, compensation was granted to 112 landowners in one of the affected villages. 
While the governments remain ardent to construct the dam, many of the affected families are still waiting for stalled compensation for the loss of their lands.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for more compensation than promised

Demand for rehabilitation

Opposition against environmental degradation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

6946.99

Type of investment:

Revised Investment

Year of Estimation

2019

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

Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 4 [Publication of acquisition notice by the acquiring authority]; Section 11 [This section provides for award of compensation by Collector]; Section 17 [This section provides for urgency which allows the government to immediately seize private land and offer adequate compensation]; Section 18 [Aany person interested who has not accepted the award may apply for that the matter to be referred by the Collector for the determination of the Court]; Section 25 [This section provides that the amount of compensation awarded by the Court shall not be less than the amount awarded by the Collector]; Section 23 [This section provides for matters to be considered for determination of compensation]; Section 54 [This section provides for appeal before High Court] 
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Restriction on the use of forest land for non forest purpose]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Section 8 [Central Government empowered to grant or reject approval to the project proposal with or without conditions ]
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
Section 19 [This section states the Procedure and powers of Tribunal.]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 27 [This section provides for determination of amount of compensation]; Section 73 [This section provides for Re-determination of amount of compensation on the basis of the award of the Authority]; First Schedule [This Schedule contains the components that should constitute the minimum compensation package to be given to those who lose their land]; Second Schedule [This Schedule provides for the components of the rehabilitation entitlements of landowners who lose land.]
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Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

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

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Supreme Court of India

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Hon'ble High Court of Himachal Pradesh concluded with finding that Reference Court has rightly determined the enhanced market value of land at the rate of 5,00,000/- per bigha, irrespective of nature and classification of land and upheld the impugned award dated 30.5.2014, passed by learned Reference Court and appeals were dismissed. The Supreme Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

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

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Objections as part of official procedures

Public campaign

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Himachal Pradesh State Government, Government of NCT of Delhi, National Green Tribunal, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited

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:

Local Famers, Affected residents

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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