This is a much-needed mechanism that should have been instituted right at the beginning. What is most interesting is the charge to determine the actual number of ousted families. While the State Governments have suggested a number, the Federal Government seems to have accepted the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) assertion that the numbers provided by the States were wrong. What would be important is to evaluate the process by which each party states their claim and confirm actually numbers by those parameters.
In a country like India where the Government hardly has any information on even tax-paying citizens, trying to determine residential rights and history in a remote hilly tract would be next to impossible. With large amounts being offered as compensation, there may be a lot of carpetbaggers in the line trying to get a free ride.
It would be most useful if the Government should learn from this debacle and bring out clear-cut norms that will govern large development projects. This will ensure that ensuing the claims and counter claims do not impede their continued progress per schedule. More importantly, it will also ensure that people get fair treatment from corrupt local Government officials.
The NBA’s contribution would be most useful if it were to ask for such