Tribals in Madhya Pradesh Fear Loss of Livelihood from Morand-Ganjal Irrigation Project

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 26, 2021

Location of Conflict


Khirkiya, Sirali and Rahatgaon tehsils


Reason or Cause of Conflict

Irrigation Dam



People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Starting Year



Madhya Pradesh



The Morand and Ganjal irrigation projects, proposed in 1972, were approved by the Madhya Pradesh government in 2017. The MorandGanjal Complex Irrigation Project area covers four districts of the state Hoshangabad, Betul, Harda and Khandwa. The project is aimed at benefiting 4,617 hectares of land in 28 villages in Hoshangabad, 17,678 hectares of land in 62 villages in Harsud tehsil in Khandwa and 29,910 hectares of agriculture land in 121 villages in Harda, Khirkiya, Sirali and Rahatgaon tehsils in Harda district. However, the initiation of surveys for land acquisition has led to a fear of loss of livelihood among the Korku tribes inhabiting the area. They have been organising themselves in small collectives to spread awareness about the repercussions of the project. In 2014, a public interest litigation was filed in the Jabalpur High Court on the likelihood of submergence of villages and noncompliance of compensation and rehabilitation rules. This was dismissed by the court on the ground that the project had received the approval of all the concerned authorities, including the environment ministry. (see the PIL attached) According to a media report, 10 villages (four in Hoshangabad, four in Harda and two in Betul districts) are at the risk of submersion by the construction of these dams. Although surveys for acquiring land have begun, nothing has been communicated to the residents about relief and rehabilitation (R&R). The Environment Impact Assessment report for the environmental clearance for the project mentions that the R&R plan will be implemented as per the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. The report states that this plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and that it is under scrutiny. Harish Sahu of the Synergy Sansthan told in a news report, dated June 2019, that surveying of the area for the project has intensified in the early half of 2019. "As of now, there have been no discussions on the compensation or the rehabilitation of the tribals after the land acquisition for the dam. There are talks that the tribespeople may be given INR 2.5 lakh per acre, however, we want at least Rs. 10 lakh, he added. The tribes have vowed to oppose the project. Previously the region had experienced the displacement of tribal community and loss of natural life for the Punasa dam (also called the Indira Sagar dam).
LCW spoke to Jindagi Bachao Abhiyan on August 8, 2020. They said, "The project has not received any environmental clearance or Stage I forest clearance. The gram sabha has also passed a proposal opposing the project. Despite this, in September 2019, the Narmada Valley Development Authority floated an INR 1,800 crore tender for the construction of the project." A major sitin for five hours was organised by the villagers in December 2019 outside the Harda and Hoshangabad district collector's office to oppose the project.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project, Demand for rehabilitation, Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification


Type of Land


Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):


Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation


Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

    Section 21 [Notice to persons interested]; Section 23 [Enquiry and land acquisition award by collector based on the compensation determined under Section 27]; Section 25 [Award by collector must be made within 12 months from date of publication of declaration]; Section 26 [Criteria for assessment and determination of market value of land by collector]; Section 27 [Determination of amount of compensation]; Section 28 [Parameters to be considered by collector in determination of award]; Section 31(1) [Rehabilitation and resettlement award for affected families by collector]; Section 77 [Payment of compensation or deposit of same in authority]

  2. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

    Section 2 [Prior approval of Central government is required for diversion of fresh forest area for non-forest purpose]

  3. Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006

    Section 4(m)(i) [Gram panchayat shall be consulted before making the acquisition of land in the Scheduled Areas for development projects and before re-settling or rehabilitating persons affected by such projects in the Scheduled Areas; the actual planning and implementation of the projects in the Scheduled Areas shall be coordinated at the state level]; Section 4(m)(iii) [While endowing panchayats in the Scheduled Areas with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government, a state legislature shall ensure that the panchayats at the appropriate level and the Gram Sabha are endowed specifically with the power to prevent alienation of land in the Scheduled Areas and to take appropriate action to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a Scheduled Tribe]

  4. Schedule 1, Item 1(c): [Mandatory clearance to be taken for all projects involving river valley projects]

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:

Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Controversial land acquisition by the government

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court


Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Madhya Pradesh

Case Number

W.P. No. 2415/2011

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Water Resources, Central Water Commission, Ministry of Tribal Affairs

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Narmada Valley Development Authority

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?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Synergy Sansthan

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

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