This article published in ‘The Bangalore Law Journal’, Peer Reviewed Journal,
ISSN. 0973 – 3280
Citation for this article Volume 5 BLJ 2014 (2)
Page no. 138 – 153.
This Journal is published by
The Prof. V. B. Coutinho Trust (Regd.), Bangalore.
Effects of Mega Projects from the perspective of Human Rights*
The meaning of ‘Mega project’ really depends on the context in which the project exists. Mega project is a subjective notion because it depends upon so many factors like cost of investment, benefits of the project, location of project, nature of the project, number of persons affected by project and duration of the project. Many pundits would suggest that a mega project is any individual project that carries a price tag of more than USD 1 billion, but that is a highly subjective notion as a billion pounds is quite different from a billion dollars and – given the propensity for cost overruns – what may have started out as a major project can quickly become a Mega project as time goes on. Bent Flyvbjerb, has considered four criteria that, together, define whether a project can be termed ‘Mega’. Mega projects, must cost more than billion US dollars, must take more than 5 years to move from design through to operations, must affect more than a million people and must have a transformational impact on area in which it is located. Further he explains that these criteria must be somewhat flexible and based on the local context.
Mega Projects have made an important and significant contribution to human development. The benefits derived from them are substantial. India is basically an agriculture based country. India to embark upon greater benefits from agriculture sector, especially after Independence, has started numerous experiments to become a self-sufficient country. It has to take up the agriculture sector on a modern way. Promotion of industry, construction of railways networks and roads, investment in power generating projects, and water reservoirs and dams are imperative for any nation’s economic development. Therefore, India has adopted various policies for development. Legislatures initiated harnessing the potentiality of all the natural resources. Hence India has invested huge money in irrigation project, generation of power and supply, SEZs, or nuclear projects, road connectivity and large industry.
The Government of India has considered the growth of Industrial sector as vital for national growth. That’s why it provided space for the growing technology in the Industry. This relevancy between industry, technology and other sectors is proved by the green revolution, increase in the per capita, average expectation of life, etc. Immediately after Independence government of India has taken construction of Dams on priority in the developmental agenda. Nehru considered them as “temples of development”. Without any debate Mega projects improve many people’s lives, provide employment, and supply better services. To fulfill the demands of society, construction of Mega Projects have become necessary. Infrastructures are inevitable for the promotion of Mega Projects to nurture the promising growth of all other sectors. One of the infrastructures is land. Thus acquisition of land becomes inevitable, which in turn achieve the mandate of the Constitution.
- Advantages of Mega Projects
The government of India has taken the Mega projects in large scale to promote the human rights enumerated in the III chapter and economical rights mentioned in the IV chapter of the Constitution. If there is one word that sums up the impact of mega projects, it is probably ‘transformational’. The development of mega projects promises to unlock vast resource of wealth, exponentially increase productivity, open up new markets for trade, and improve the quality of life of millions. Mega Projects in the long run transforms the nation from under developed to developed nation. This further boosts the investment because it would provide opportunity to invest in many sectors which has the potentiality of development due to Mega projects. Hence, Mega projects bring wholesale change in a nation’s power generation, growth of a national economy, development of entire cities and precints, development of infrastructure industry etc. The bottom line is that the Mega projects clearly deliver benefits far beyond the physical assets that are being delivered. Following are the advantages of Mega projects:
- Optimum use of natural resources,
- Expansion of irrigation,
- Increase of productivity,
- Opening up of new markets for trade and commerce,
- Improvement of the quality of life of millions,
- Better infrastructure and
- Enhancement in the efficiency of the government.
- Optimum use of natural resources
By construction of Mega projects, Water a perennial component of the environment is better used at the optimum level, at all the possible levels of its flow. Mega projects in Minerals have ensured the mining in a more scientific manner in the last 3 decades. Despite having one of the largest reserves, the Indian coal industry does not hold a position in the league of global energy suppliers. This can be attributed to lack of investment in the coal industry. Further the coal industry has relayed on the traditional technology which has not produced the expected results. Therefore complete reformation of coal industry is imperative for better production and utility of coal. The Indian Planning Commission and the Coal Ministry revealed that India’s total coal consumption is expected to increase from 510 mts in 2007-08 to 550 mts by 2008-09. To meet this requirement, substantial investment is needed. Even the private players would need to deploy advanced mechanisms to increase production levels.
India imports about two-thirds of its crude oil requirement. Mega projects on oil and gas exploration and production are therefore inexorably linked with the national economical development. Exploration and production of oil and gas is critical for India’s energy security and economic growth. Energy markets have improved significantly over the past one decade as a result of improved economic growth, which has resulted into higher demand for refined products. But supply of crude oil is not matching with the demand. In the light of this, the Government of India has approved a policy to allow state-owned companies to start exploration for shale oil and gas. This has enabled the world’s fourth-biggest energy consumer moves slowly to seek alternatives to expensive oil imports.
- Expansion of irrigation
India is being basically agro based nation, where 70% of the Indian population income is based upon output of agriculture. Therefore, improvement of agriculture is imperative task of successive Governments in India. Hence, India has invested huge money on the construction of Mega dams with an intention to provide irrigation to agriculture land. So in the last 50 years India’s irrigation potential increased from 22.6 million hectares in 1951 to about 89.6 in 1997, marking a fourfold growth over a period of 50 years. The production of food grains has increased from 51 million tonnes in 1950-51 to almost 200 million tonnes by 1996-97. About two-thirds (66.7%) of this increase has come from the irrigated area. It can be stated that Mega projects like dams have made a contribution to the development of irrigation and food production.
- Increase of productivity
India having population of 1.2 billion cannot ignore the importance of industrialisation. Therefore, it has taken up on priority basis the needs of nurturing the industrial requirements, particularly generation of power, providing water facility, raw materials, road and rail connectivity, and training the skill manned power. These infrastructures require huge investment. India has heavily invested in thermal power projects, hydro electricity projects, coal projects, quadrangle highway improvement across the nation, improving and expanding higher professional education and making availability of a land for the promotion of an industry. These factors facilitated inflow of foreign capital along with domestic capital which has enhanced potential productivity of Indian industry, which is reflected in the form of India is being member of G20, further India is likely to be second largest industrial nation by the end of 2030.
- Opening of new markets for trade and commerce
India’s investment in Mega projects has further provided greater opportunity for dynamic and courageous entrepreneurs. Huge irrigation of agriculture land has led to maximum of output of agricultural products, which forced potential industrialists to think of new industries. To supplement the agro industries, the investors started to invest in pesticides and fertilizers, further they venture into the area of research of varieties of seeds which attracted so many multinational companies. India is also performing well in the fruits based sector that has opened gate for other industry, for example over production of grapes led to establishment of wine industry. In the same way over production of sugar has carved way for alcohol industry, generating the electricity and even it has taken care of production of methyl which can be blend with petrol. Similarly production of aluminum, iron and steel, cement and various other goods, equipment, tools etc., has taken place on large scale. Amita Baviskar calls it as industrialisation of agriculture. This substantially saved the foreign exchange. The development in agriculture and industry has multiplied the income of the people which has contributed much towards the expansion of service industry, for example India’s tele density is almost all 70% of the population.
- Improvement of the quality of life of millions
Improvement in the quality of life is a crucial contribution made by Mega projects. It is beyond doubt that people’s health and standard of living have improved during the last few decades. The average life expectancy has risen; the rate of mortality too has declined. There has been spectacular progress in the expansion of facilities of public health and sanitation measures. On account of development, the ratio of people below poverty line has declined. Water, food and housing problems have been solved to a considerable extent. Indian mass now have multiple choice in the matters of food, cloth, drinks, recreation, etc. The large increase in the number of pucka houses in the rural areas also support of peoples affluence. Developmental programs like irrigation, energy generation, creating jobs, establishment of professional educational institutions modernised hospitals or wider roads in clogged downtowns are indispensable for developing countries which improve livelihood and expand national and local economies.
- Better infrastructure
India’s electricity generation capacity from 1950 to 1985 was very low when compared to developed nations. Since 1990, India has been one of the fastest growing markets for electricity generation. The country’s annual electricity generation capacity has increased in last 20 years from about 66 GW in 1991 to over 199 GW in 2012. India’s Power Finance Corporation Limited projects that current and approved electricity capacity addition projects in India are expected to add about 100 GW of installed capacity between 2012 and 2017. This growth makes India one of the fastest growing markets for electricity infrastructure equipment. Public and privately owned companies are significant players in India’s electricity sector.
India has a road network of over 4,236,000 kilometers (2,632,000 mi) in 2011, the third largest road network in the world. However, qualitatively India’s roads are a mix of modern highways and narrow, unpaved roads, and are undergoing drastic improvement. As of October 2013, India had completed and placed in use over 21,300 kilometers of recently built 4 or 6-lane highways connecting many of its major manufacturing centers, commercial and cultural centers. The expected pace of project initiations and completion suggests that India would add about 600 kilometres of modern highway per month, on average, through 2014.
- Enhancement in the efficiency of the government
Mega projects have boosted the growth of a national economy at all the levels. Major population of the society is reaping benefits of these projects. Now responsibility is bestowed upon the government to sustain these economical activities otherwise all the efforts made in nurturing the Mega projects would be futile. Obviously the government has to enhance its governance efficiency, because it has to regulate and supervise to sustain these activities.
III. Right to life and personal liberty under India Constitution
Human Rights can be enjoyed by a human being only when he is a freeman and not when his life and personal liberty is deprived. Article 21 of the Constitution states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. Nowhere in the Constitution have the word ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty’ been defined. On several occasions the Supreme Court of India has interpreted the word ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty’ in a different sense. The Supreme Court in A. K. Gopalan v. Union of India, made a restrictive interpretation of the expression ‘personal liberty’. The Court held that the ‘personal liberty’ in Article 21 means nothing more than the liberty of the physical body, that is, freedom from arrest and detention without the authority of law. In other words, life is something not more than mere animal existence. This restrictive interpretation of ‘personal liberty’ has been liberalised in later decisions.
The ratio of A. K. Gopalan’s case in respect of ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty’ is given up in Kharak Singh case. It is held that ‘personal liberty’ is not only limited to bodily restraint or confinement to prison only, but is used as a compendious term including within itself all the varieties of rights which go to make up the personal liberty of a man other than those dealt within Article 19 (1). To put it in other way, Article 21 includes all those rights which are essential in the civilized society excluding the rights which are specifically mentioned in Article 19. Thus, it gives so many rights which are not explicitly mentioned in the Article 21. Further the Supreme Court expanded the ratio of Kharak Singh’s case in Maneka Gandhi.
The Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India gave a new dimension to Article 21. The Court held that the right to ‘life’ is not merely confined to physical existence but it includes within its ambit the right to live with human dignity. The word “human dignity” includes necessities of life such as, adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter and facilities for reading, writing and expressing ourselves in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and commingling with fellow human being.
- Right to Livelihood under Article 21
An attempt has been made from time to time to persuade the Supreme Court to interpret the word ‘life’ in Article 21 expansively so as to include ‘livelihood’ therein with a view to extend the guarantee of Article 21 to ‘livelihood’ in addition to ‘life’. Initially, the response of the Supreme Court to this contention was in the negative. In re Sant Ram, a case prior to Maneka Gandhi, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to ‘livelihood’ does not fall within the expression “life” in Article 21. The Court said curtly: “The argument that the word “life” in Article 21 of the Constitution includes “livelihood” had only be stated to be rejected. The question of livelihood has not in terms been dealt with by Article 21.” The right to livelihood is included in the freedoms enumerated in Article 19, or even in Article 16, in a limited sense. But the language of Article 21 “cannot be pressed into aid of the argument that the word “life” in Article 21 includes “livelihood” also. This proposition was reiterated by the Supreme Court in several cases in the post-Maneka era also. In A.V. Nacbane v. Union of India, the court reiterated the same proposition without much argument.
In Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, popularly known as the ‘pavement dwellers case‘ a five judge bench of the Court has finally ruled that the word ‘life’ in Article 21 includes the ‘right to livelihood‘ also. Chandrachud C.J. who delivered judgment and observed that
[T]he question which we have to consider the right to life includes the right to livelihood. We see only one answer to that question, namely that it does. The sweep of the right to life conferred by Article 21 is wide and far-reaching. It does not mean merely that life cannot be extinguished or taken away as, for example, by the imposition and execution of the death sentence, except according to procedure established by law. That is but one aspect of the right to life. An equally important facet of that right is the right to livelihood because no person can live without the means of livelihood. If the right to livelihood is not treated as a part of the constitutional right to life, the easiest ways of depriving a person of his right to life would be to deprive him of his means of livelihood to the point of abrogation.” 
- Right to Shelter
Shelter is basic necessity of a human being in a just society. However there is no Article in the Constitution explicitly mentions the right to shelter. Nevertheless, in Chameli Singh v. State of U. P., it has been held that the right to shelter is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. In any organised society, the right to live as a human being is secured only when he is assured of all facilities to benefit himself. Right to live guaranteed in any civilised society implies the right to food, water, decent environment, education, medical care and shelter. These are basic human rights known to any civilised society. All civil, political, social and cultural rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in International Conventions or under the Constitution of India tries to promote these basic human rights. Shelter for human being, therefore, is not a mere protection of his life and limb. It is home where he had opportunities to grow physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually. Right to shelter therefore, includes adequate living place, safe and decent structure, clean and decent surroundings, sufficient light, pure air and water, electricity, sanitation and other civic amenities like roads etc., so as to have easy access to his daily avocation. The right to shelter, therefore, does not mean a mere right to a roof over one’s head but right to all the infrastructure necessary to enable them to live and develop as a human being.
In a series of cases, the Supreme Court has decided that Enjoyment of unpolluted water and air is included in the “right to live” under Article 21of the Constitution. In Subhas Kumar v. State of Bihar, it has been held that public interest litigation is maintainable for ensuring enjoyment of pollution free water and air. In Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra v. State of U.P., the Supreme Court ordered the closure of certain lime stone quarries on the ground that large scale pollution was caused by lime stone quarries which adversely affecting the safety and health of the people living in the area.
- Right to seek a speedy justice
The Supreme Court has held that Right to seek justice is integral part of Article 21. Thus it would become meaningful unless the person has a means to seek justice. Obviously it becomes the statutory obligation of the government to provide the means to seek justice to the persons who have no means to seek justice. In M. H. Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra, Krishna Iyer, J., observed,
“If a prisoner sentenced to imprisonment, is virtually unable to exercise his constitutional and statutory right of appeal, inclusive of special leave to appeal, for want of legal assistance, there is implicit in the Court under Article 142, read with Articles 21 and 39-A of the Constitution, power to assign counsel for such imprisoned individual for doing complete justice. This is a necessary incident of the right of appeal conferred by the Code and allowed by Article 136 of the Constitution. The inference is inevitable that this is a State’s duty and not Government’s charity.”
The right to seek justice enshrined under Article 21 is viable unless justice is dispensed in right time. This is confirmed by the Supreme Court in Hussainara Khatoon (No. 1) v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, by observing that “right to a speedy justice” a fundamental right which is implicit in the guarantee of life and personal liberty.
VII. Human Rights
Human rights have become subject matter of not only domestic legal system but also International. Human being by virtue of his mere birth he possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonly known as human rights. Therefore Human Rights are inherent in all the individuals irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, sex and nationality. These rights are very vital for overall growth of human being as well as society. To promote respect for Human Rights, the United Nations Organisation has proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural, 1966 and many international instruments. India is being a country ruled by the rule of law and committed to democratic values therefore; it has signed the International Covenants of Human Rights. Principles of equality, liberty and justice are the pillars of the Indian Constitution. Further, the Constitution obligates the Government of India to protect and promote freedoms, and to assure every citizen a decent standard of living. In other words, the Indian Constitution guarantees the promotion of basic human rights. The above mentioned human rights are contained in Part III and IV of the Constitution.
VIII. Repercussions of Mega projects
Mega projects require two basic things viz., investment and land. Indeed government does not have its own land to support the Mega projects. Therefore, naturally it has to acquire the land which is in the possession of people. The implementation of Mega projects by the government has been questioned by the human rights organisations upon the premise of polluting environment which violates the right to life and personal liberty of a human being that has been guaranteed by the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court has strengthened Article 21 in two ways. First, it required law affecting personal liberty to pass the tests of Article 14 and Article 19 of the Constitution, thereby ensuring that the procedure depriving a person of his or her personal liberty be reasonable, fair and just. It is by this second method that the Supreme Court interpreted the right to life and personal liberty to include the right to a wholesome environment. The first indication of the right to a wholesome environment may be traced 8 years after the Dehradun Quarrying Case.The Supreme Court in Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar held that the right to life includes the right to enjoy unpolluted air and water. If anything endangers or impairs the quality of life in derogation of law, a citizen has a right to move the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. Justice K. Ramaswamy in Virender Gaur v. State of Haryana¸ observed:
‘Article 21 protects the right to life as a fundamental right. Enjoyment of life… including (the right to live) with human dignity encompasses within its ambit the protection and preservation of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation, without which life cannot be enjoyed. Any contra acts or actions would cause environmental pollution. Environmental, ecological, air, water pollution, etc. should be regarded as amounting to violation of Article 21. Therefore, hygienic environment is an integral dignity without a human and healthy environment. …[T]here is a constitutional imperative on the State Government and the municipalities, not only to ensure and safeguard proper environment but also an imperative duty to take adequate measures to promote, protect and improve both the man-made and the natural environment’.
The environmental rights have become the most debatable issues in the light of economical developments of a modern state. Further rapid industrialisation by developed and developing nations along with materialistic attitude of people has ultimately driven the universe towards the global warming. Thus the scientists’ have cautioned the world leaders unless the development is sustainable the universe is on the path of destruction. In other words any development which does not take into consideration of environmental issues would be considered as anti-development and violation of human rights. The mega projects in India mainly focus on the economic activity and employment generation but generally do not taken into consideration of impact of environment which affects the right of people to preserve and maintain the ecological balance that preserve the universe.
- Land Acquisition
One of the major consequences of Mega project operations is the displacement of people from their lands. The process of development has not been easy or straightforward; it has been continually contested by competing groups of elites. These Mega projects forcing the occupants to give up their homesteads, assets and quiet often means of livelihood and vocation and to reside elsewhere and start their life all over again. The government acquires the land which has been built by the family over generations. Moreover, the comforts which the peoples are getting from such a land are also lost. So when such a land is acquired by the government the loss to the people is irreparable and cannot be measured in terms of monetary. Displace people have to settle their life in the land given by the government which is usually far away from habitual place. Hence, it becomes difficult for them to make their life to the level which they were before the displacement. It requires effort of generations to generation to reach that level of comfort.
- Submergence of land, Impacts on Flora and Fauna, Wildlife, Resettlement and Rehabilitation
- Submerge of land
The acquisition of land is of great Socio-political upheavals that have also been at the root of large scale shifting of people from their permanent abode. The loss is not just of a piece of land but of community ties, the commons, cultural roots, and much more. Large number of shelter-less and asset-less people, leading a life of destitution, in the absence of water and jobs to eke their livelihood-for want of economic development. The other socio-economic causes deprive the benefits of developments because they have to migrate from their familiar surroundings to new and unknown lands in search of livelihood and in the hope of a better future. The Mega project submerges hectares of unirrigated land, reserve forest land, plantation land, etc. mainly during construction stage. During construction phase the main impact on land is generally due to use of land for quarrying and muck disposal activities in addition to other infrastructure activities.
Initially the resettlement and rehabilitation has been confined to payment of compensation only. The repealed Land Acquisition Act, 1894 provided for payment of cash compensation to those who have a direct interest in the title of such a land which had been acquired. The compensation was not sufficient to get alternative cultivable agricultural land, homestead and new means of livelihood. In the words of Vijay Paranjpye:
Production systems are dismantled, close knit kinship groups get scattered, long established relationships are disrupted, traditional sources of employment are lost, market links broken, and customs related to child care, food security, intra-community credit transfers, etc. get dissolved. The systems of social hierarchy and leadership lose their credibility, and ancestral symbols and shrines, graves and monuments and an entire sense of history and cultural identity are irretrievably lost. The obvious result of such sudden changes is impoverishment, both economic and social. The psychological trauma is profound because people find themselves landless, jobless, without food and access to community resources.
- Impacts on Flora and Fauna,
The forests in the project and surrounding areas are generally degraded. The direct impact of such projects on flora and fauna is however, limited to the vicinity of project. Migration of large population due to construction activities can cause significant loss of flora and fauna of the adjoining areas especially where forest density in the project vicinity is higher. The increased accessibility to the area can also have some adverse impact on flora and fauna of the area due to human interference. The most distributing factor has been the developments in and around tiger reserves and protected forests.
- Resettlement and Rehabilitation
The resettlement and rehabilitation should aim not only at the resettlement of the uprooted persons in the new abode but also rehabilitate them to regain and enhance their economic output. Since the late 1970s and especially in the beginning of 1990s various Mega projects have a rehabilitation component. This is partly due to protests and partly due to some of the international donor agencies insisting on rehabilitation as conditionality for loans. The problem is even more acute for persons, who are critically dependent on the acquired lands for their livelihoods, but who have no legal title to them, such as land-less agricultural workers, forest dwellers dependent on gathering, tenants and artisans. The usage in India is the completion of a Mega project is primary and rehabilitation of displaced people is secondary. This concept has to be reversed.
The failure of economists to provide an innovative analysis of economic dimensions of displacement, relocation and rehabilitation, is the main cause of the current crisis in resettlement.
- Water logging and Salinity
The effect on water used for generation, in the case of the run of the river Mega projects, are generally not realised on water quality. The release of water from reservoir modifies the annual fluctuations in the flow, trap sediments and nutrients vital for fertilizing downstream plains. After construction of dam the flow pattern in the river downstream of the dam will obviously change.
The other controversy concerning land acquisition laws revolves around the payment of compensation. To begin with, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 states only about compensation and it is assumed that monetary compensation will suffice. It does not embodies of rehabilitation, land for land and jobs. In India, where land values are subject to major distortion and where current land records are often decades out of date, cash compensation rarely reflected the true value of the asset and was insufficient to buy replacements. But even assuming that only money is to be given in exchange for expropriation the question arises as to whom should this money be paid to and how much? It is only those persons are entitled to compensation who have an “interest in the land”. The interest in the land should include owner of the land as well as tenants of the land. The government generally gives compensation to the owner of the land but excludes tenants of the land. Therefore, the tenants who have worked on the lands for decades would be denied justice. On the same line the landless agricultural labourers who have lost their livelihood also deprived of justice. If common village grazing land is taken over, no compensation will be payable to anybody and if an entire village is acquired the fisher folk who may be dependent on the river for their livelihood will not get any compensation for loss of livelihood. The next question is that of the quantum of compensation. This has to be paid as per the market value of the property. The market value can be determined by looking at amounts received in respect of similar lands in the neighborhood in the recent past. This can be highly misleading. Virtually in every sale deal a cash component is involved which would not be reflected in the sale deed. Moreover, there may not be any sale of lands in the nearby area in the recent past which gives a completely arbitrary power to the authorities to decide the market value. And, at no stage the government considers the potential future price of the property. For example, when an agricultural land is acquired for special economic zone, such a property acquires huge commercial market value. This aspect is not considered by the government at the time of fixing the compensation, which causes a great injustice to the persons whose land is acquired. The value is also not decided on the basis as to how much it will cost to buy a similar plot of land elsewhere.
Another important component added to the compensation concept that is land for land. Moreover the provided land must be qualitative land. But is it possible, because the government does not have sufficient land of its own to provide. Obviously it has to acquire land from others and give it to displaced people that compounds further problem. Even suppose the government has its own land it won’t be fertile land naturally it would be a waste land. Hence, the government would not be in a position to meet out the land for land principle.
Development is non debatable issue. The only debatable issue is how this development has to be implemented, where and when it has to be implemented. Further issue is how the justice is to be meted to the people affected by the development. Obviously the acquisition of land is inevitable to implement the development. The axiom that Mega projects are always produces better fruits is a myth. If the Mega projects are implemented at an ecologically fragile place, not considering the cost of health hazardous, cost of displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation in the long run would definitely causes greater hardship than benefits. Moreover, the people who have lost their lands for the Mega projects are not reaping the benefits. Further the government in giving a red carpet welcome to the industrialist is very generous in allotting large track of land without taking into consideration of actual requirement of the land. Another serious flaw of Mega project is that the people are not taken into confidence from the point of plan to execution of the Mega project in real sense. Reconstructing livelihood and incomes of displaced people is one of the most important issues in the execution of Mega projects. The policies of the government in respect of compensation and rehabilitation are not fair. Nevertheless, the recently enacted The Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 to certain extent reduced the degree of injustice of displaced persons. Probably the biggest challenge that all Mega projects face is that it does not stick to implementation of a time framework, which brings so much uncertainty of future of people in the nearby vicinity. Megaprojects sometimes take a decade or more to move from design to handover, which can create significant challenges related to both the escalation of costs and the potential for technology or design elements to become obsolete before the project is even completed. In India, there is no ‘single window’ for Mega projects and each government department is managing which is not healthy practice. This process makes Mega project very complex, risky and not viable.
- The downstream impact of dams, often a lacuna in the broader popular discourse on the impact of Mega projects in the country which is influenced by upstream submergence and displacement.
- The Mega projects also involve extensive tunneling in a geologically fragile landscape, the environmental and social impacts of which are grossly underestimated.
The failure of economists to provide an innovative analysis of economic dimensions of displacement, relocation and rehabilitation, is the main cause of the current crisis in resettlement.
Prof. V. B. Coutinho’s Trust shall be the sole copyright owner of this article.
The mega projects paradox, An Interview with Bent Flyvbjerb, Chair of Major Program Management at Oxford University’s Said Business School.
 Mega projects include bridges, tunnels, highways, railways, airports, seaports, power plants, dams, wastewater projects, Special Economic Zones(SEZ), oil and natural gas extraction projects, public buildings, information technology systems, aerospace projects, etc., see, Flyvbjerg Bent, et, all, Mega Project and Risk An Anatomy of Ambition, (United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p.1.
 Novel analysis of development in a broader view has been put forward by Dreze and Sen, where in it is understood as, if development is about enhancing human freedoms and the quality of life – an important understanding for which we have argued – then the quality of the environment is bound to be part of what we want to preserve and promote. In fact, this broader view of development can help not only to integrate development and environmental concerns but also to achieve a better understanding of our environmental challenges, in terms of the quality and freedom of human lives – today and in the future. See, Dreze Jean and Sen Amartya, An Uncertain Glory India and its contradictions, (England, Allen Lane, Penguin Group, 2013), p.42.
 Singh K. B. K. “Social Costs and Benefits of Economic Development in India: A Case Study” in, Social and Economic Development in India, Tripathi R. S. and S. B. Singh Parmar, (Ed.), (New Delhi, Ashish Publishing House, 1996), p. 27.
Sec.2(za) of The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 defines “Special Economic Zone” means each Special Economic Zone notified under the proviso to sub-section (4) of section 3 and sub-section (1) of section 4 (including Free Trade and Warehousing Zone) and includes an existing Special Economic Zone.
 Quoted by Arundhati Roy, in, “Human Cost of Big Dam”, Frontline, Volume 16 – Issue 11, May 22 – June 04, 1999.
 Michael M Cernea, “Risks, Safeguards and Reconstruction – A Model for Population Displacement and Resettlement”, EPW, Oct. 7, 2000.
 Quoted by Flyvbjerg Bent in, Insight, The global infrastructure magazine, Issue No. 4, 2013, p.5.
 http://www.economywatch.com/business-and-economy/india-coal-industry.html, Accessed on 17.01.2014.
 Final Report of the World Commission for Dams (November 2000)
 Singh K. B. K, “Social Costs and Benefits of Economic Development in India: A Case Study” in Social and Economic Development in India, Tripathi R. S. and Singh Parmar S. B.,( Ed.), New Delhi, Ashish Publishing House,1996), pp, 22-23.
 Baviskar Amita, In the Belly of the River, Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley, (New Delhi, Oxfor University Press 2004), p. 23.
 Simon Kuznet, “Regional Economic Trends and Levels of Living”, in Philip M. Houser (Ed.) Population and World Policies, (Glencoe: Free Press, 1958), p.12.
 Michael M. Cernea, “Impoverishment or Social Justice? A Model for Planning Resettlement”, in Hari Mohan Mathur and David Marsden (Ed.) Development Projects and Impoverishment Risks– Resettling Project-Affected People in India, (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 45.
 D. H. Kotkate, V. V. Kulkarni and P. H. Kokate, An Overview of Electricity Sector and its Linkages with Social Development in India, Indian Streams Research Journal Volume 3, Issue. I, Feb. 2013, pp. 1-14.
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Agarwal H. O. Human Rights, 12th (Ed.), (Allahabad: Central Law Publications, 2010), p. 2.
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 Baviskar Amita, In the Belly of the River, Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley, (New Delhi, Oxfor University Press 2004), p. 38.
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 Desai Mihir, “Land Acquisition Law and the Proposed Changes”, EPW, Vol. XLVI Nos. 26 & 27, June 25 2011, p. 95
 Fernandes and Vijay Paranjpye (eds.) (1997) ‘Rehavilitation Policy and Law in India: A Right to Livelihood’, Indian Social Institute, New Dehli quoted in Murickan, Jose (2003), ‘Development-Induced Displacement: Case of Kerala’, Rawat Publications, Jaipur.
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