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Centre’s tribal rehab plan for the displaced

NEW DELHI: The ministry of road transport and highways has drafted a resettlement policy and development plan for the tribals being displaced due to its green highway project. The project, spanning over 780 km, is spread across four states — Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The survey by a ministry team noted that the project was causing adverse effects like loss of fertile land, loss of structures for residential and commercial purposes, loss of property, disruption of livelihood and increased possibility of gender-based violence due to migrant influx and child labour.

“The project (green highways) is being executed with assistance from the World Bank. The survey was commissioned to ensure that none of the guidelines laid down by the World Bank and the ministry is flouted while executing the project. The findings of the survey will help us execute the project within the framework of the guidelines and also aid us in handing out adequate and deserving displaced people,” a ministry official said.

The draft policy will follow principles like screening of the project, ensuring displaced persons get compensation, consultations with displaced persons, preparing social impact assessment report, establishing grievance redressal systems and monitoring resettlement outcomes.

“We have also devised strategies to overcome individual impacts. For instance, agriculture productivity of tribals can be increased by creating awareness about crop rotation and debt levels could be reduced by encouraging formation of self-help groups,” the official said.

The implementation strategy involves awareness campaigns by the government departments involved in delivering tribal and social welfare programmes. The draft policy also urges the displaced persons to undergo skill training. “For the same, we have devised a strategy to map the skills of the person to enhance them further,” the official said.