Data source
Date of text
21 Feb 2008
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Court name
High Court of Madhya pradesh
Patnaik, A.
Singh, A.
compensation, dam, energy, hydroelectric energy, land tenure, liability, renewable energy

The Omkareshwar dam is one of the large dams being constructed in the Narmada valley. 30 villages and nearly 8000 families are affected by this dam. The dam is being constructed by the NHDC (Narmada Hydro-Development Corporation) – which is a joint venture of the State Government and the Central Government undertaking – the NHPC. On the 28th of March 2007, the State Government permitted filling of the reservoir. It was to prevent a large-scale disaster of submergence of thousands of families without proper rehabilitation and resettlement and the flagrant violation of the R&R Policy by the GOMP and the Project authorities that the Narmada Bachao Andolan approached the Madhya Pradesh High Court on the 30th of March 2007 and obtained a stay on reservoir filling. The Supreme Court later permitted reservoir filling up to 189 meters but no further, and directed that the High Court to decide the matter on merits.
The High Court stated that it is a fundamental right of the oustees under Article 21 of the Constitution to be made better-off after displacement. The High Court held that the oustees may be made better-off by various means, whether by the allotment of land, or employment, or other schemes. However, the High Court held that "If the Government assures land, but later does not offer land, it will be the duty of the Court to enforce the right". The Madhya Pradesh High Court directed that every farmer, encroacher, and adult son of farmer must be provided agricultural land for land with a minimum allotment of 5 acres of irrigated land, as per the R&R Plan, R&R Policy and GOI approvals. The High Court also directed that every adult son of such cultivator must be also allotted such land, even if he is not a titleholder. The bench also directed that the present water level of 189 meters cannot be raised until the R&R of all the oustees of the project including the allotment of land is completed. The High Court also directed the State overnment to pay Rs. 10,000 to the petitioner – the Narmada Bachao Andolan as costs.
The High Court directed that all other grievances such as non-inclusion of houses, persons and denial of other grants may be taken to the Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) by the 31st of March 2008, and the GRA would have to decide the same by the 14th of June 2008.