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30th Annual General Meeting will be held on 30th July, 2017 at K.P.Basu Memorial Hall, Jadavpur University. A seminar on PRESENT SCENARIO OF INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE EASTERN INDIA will be held on 29th July, 2017 at INDUMATI SABHAGRIHA, Jadavpur University. All the members are requested to attend theses programmes.


Population displacement takes place mostly in three distinct routes. The first and most natural one is through self-action of the beneficiaries, the second one is through compulsion out of poverty and natural calamities and the third and most shocking one is through State intervention on plea of development.

Displacement of resourceful rural people to towns or cities can be understood to be personal choice aiming at self-satisfaction. In fact, towns and cities grow in this process. In fact such displacement is quite healthy for city.

But drifting of jobless rural people to urban area can be explained to be compulsive. These poor migrants have little control over the economic situation around and flock in the towns in search of livelihood. It is again the constraints of urban economy force these poor people to live in subhuman condition in the towns. Natural calamities like crop loss, famine, disaster etc. add only fuel to the fire.

The third, i.e. the displacement through intervention creates trauma on the evictees and excludes them from continuing social and economic network. Construction of dam, extension of transportation corridors, improvement of urban infrastructure etc. are some of the areas, which dislodge large number of people. It is horrifying to note that, “During the last two decades of the previous century, the magnitude of forced population displacement caused by development progrmmes was of the order of 10 million people each year, or some 200 million people globally during the period”, (EPW page 4637 issue 15.12.2001)

Out of these huge number of intervenes, large percentage of people, as in dam, road and factory projects, are evicted due to absolutely no fault of them. They are dislodged for benefit of others. They are called Project Affected People or PAP. State normally provides resettlement and compensation for the PAPs in cash and kinds. The compensation can play a palliative for countering the stock of eviction.

Those affected due to urban infrastructure projects, as in Kolkata very recently, are basically encroachers in Govt. land. They are virtually displaced second time – first time from the rural area out of poverty and now in the urban area on the ground of development. Global opinion is in favour of resettlement of the encroachers also. But it is amazing to note that in case of recent eviction in Kolkata the State attitude was almost opposite to global perception. 

In such a situation the different social and political groups view the various issues of eviction in different ways. These are highlighted in few paragraphs for evoking response of the participators of this interaction programme.

  1. One view is: So long development benefits large section of population, in displacing a minority group, tents of democracy are not violated. The detractors of the view question, “Is Welfare Govt. Sectarian?”

  1. Some people perceive poverty, as of now, has become a plea for access to State resource if the State distributes the resources without verifying the antecedents in deserving cases, everybody will pose poor and ultimately the whole society will be in loosing end. The defiants of the argument criticize the view from objective of social justice.

  1. It is almost a common belief that compassion to encroachers will only encourage more encroachment. State should show the tough stance to combat the menace. The other side questions if the encroachers are driven away without proper rehabilitation, will not they encroach elsewhere in the vicinity? Will it be healthier from environment point of view?

  1. Pro-rehabilitation groups feel that fruits of development should be distributed to all. Therefore it is the duty of the State to involve the encroachers also in development process? If so, how?

  1. A section of the intelligentsia feels that the root cause of illegal encroachment is poverty. So long poverty is not eradicated, State must protect the poor, irrespective of their status of habitats in the eye of law. Is it maintainable?

Such questions are in thousands and views are numerous. But the hard reality is that for development eviction, in some form or other, is almost unavoidable. Resettlement perhaps is the most accepted medicine for healing the scar of eviction. But details like ‘how much’, ‘how far’, ‘at whose cost’, ‘role of State’ etc. may be matters of judgement.

With this introduction the issues of development and consequent population displacement are thrown open to this interactive session for a meaningful solution keeping the subject of Social justice within the objective of the Welfare Govt. 


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