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Sustainable Development via Big Dams:The Concerns of Victims


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1 University of Delhi, Delhi, India
     

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The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it discusses the consequences of developmental projects, that is big dams in the context of this present study, directed by the state on the natural environment and the lives of the people, particularly 'oustees' who are forced to displace from their lands to make the way for so-called 'national development'. Two, it shows to what extent the prevailing paradigm of development incorporates the interests of the dam oustees on the one hand, and then, highlights role of the Indian state and its authorities in ensuring justice and protecting the human rights of the oustees on the other. Finally, in this background, the papers fleshes out how such large infrastructure projects are denying social justice and equity to the victims of these projects and subsequently, further deepening the social and economic division between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. For the purpose, the paper begins with a brief overview of the existing debates in the context of big dams in India as well the rationale given by the state and its critics. This is followed by a discussion on a historical background of some such significant anti-dam movements in order to understand the dynamics of the state-society interaction. The paper then examines the contradictions embedded in the governmental structure in addressing the concern of the victims of big dams, and then, points out the 'exclusive' and 'exploitative' character of the development.

Keywords

Sustainable Development, Big Dams, Anti-Dam Movements, Dam Oustees, Human Rights and Justice.
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  • Sustainable Development via Big Dams:The Concerns of Victims

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Authors

Kamal Kumar
University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Abstract


The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it discusses the consequences of developmental projects, that is big dams in the context of this present study, directed by the state on the natural environment and the lives of the people, particularly 'oustees' who are forced to displace from their lands to make the way for so-called 'national development'. Two, it shows to what extent the prevailing paradigm of development incorporates the interests of the dam oustees on the one hand, and then, highlights role of the Indian state and its authorities in ensuring justice and protecting the human rights of the oustees on the other. Finally, in this background, the papers fleshes out how such large infrastructure projects are denying social justice and equity to the victims of these projects and subsequently, further deepening the social and economic division between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. For the purpose, the paper begins with a brief overview of the existing debates in the context of big dams in India as well the rationale given by the state and its critics. This is followed by a discussion on a historical background of some such significant anti-dam movements in order to understand the dynamics of the state-society interaction. The paper then examines the contradictions embedded in the governmental structure in addressing the concern of the victims of big dams, and then, points out the 'exclusive' and 'exploitative' character of the development.

Keywords


Sustainable Development, Big Dams, Anti-Dam Movements, Dam Oustees, Human Rights and Justice.