Gosikhurd Dam Irrigation Project, Maharastra, India


The Gosikhurd project on Wainganga River, in Maharastra’s eastern Vidarva region, was approved in 1982 and launched by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984. The project was declared as ‘National Irrigation Project’ by the government of India [1]. The project is still incomplete and there are gross irregularities in rehabilitation of effected people, environmental clearances, financial embezzlement. More than 1 lakh population is affected by construction of the dam [4]. An action committee of Gosikhurd irrigation project-affected persons took out protest march for the delay in rehabilitation of dam oustees time to time [3]. Gosikhurd dam authorities have started blocking the water in 2012 are facing a stiff resistance from the project affected persons (PAPS) who are refusing to vacate despite the threat of submergence. Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation has started blocking water and this may leave hundreds of people still living in submergence area without a shelter during this rainy season. Authorities have made no proper arrangement for rehabilitation of the oustees. The oustees are demanding that water damming should begin only after they are fully rehabilitated and given their rightful compensation [2].

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Basic Data
NameGosikhurd Dam Irrigation Project, Maharastra, India
SiteVillage-Gosikhurd; District-Bhandara
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe project was planned to irrigate 2.50 lakh hectares with a network of canals including a right bank canal of 99 km, a left bank canal of 22.93 km and four lift irrigation schemes — Tekepar, Nerla, Ambhora and Mokhabardi. It also includes renovation of the existing Asolamendha tank. The project, launched by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984, it is far from completion [1].

Project Area (in hectares)3,486,200
Level of Investment (in USD)1,673,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100
Start Date1984
Company Names or State EnterprisesVidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation from India
Relevant government actorsComptroller and Auditor General of India, Maharastra Engineering Research Institute, Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) Government of India, Government of Maharastra
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGosikhurd Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti (GPSS), Society for Rural Urban and Tribal Initiative (SRUTI), Kashtkari Jan Andolan, National Alliance for Peoples Movement (NAPM)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesFor large dam project like Gosikhurd, it is important to have a uniform social policy on rehabilitation and resettlement, preventing the absence of legislation in one region and the existence of a generous yet inapplicable framework in another. Far from minimizing the role of social movements it reinforces

their primary strength of permanent pressure on the State government towards respecting its engagements and develop strategies designed through collaborative work and consultation of affected people, social movements, policy-makers (both state-employed and otherwise) and social scientists [6].

Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Gosikhurd Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti has been demanding a compensation package as per 1999 rehabilitation norms as well as special benefits offered after the project was given national status. They are claiming that in addition to alternative agriculture land, they should be resettled with basic civic amenities and also Rs 12 lakh in lieu of government job and Rs 1 lakh for building cattle sheds and compensation for farm labour as also compensation at revised rates for the land they lost [2]. The project affected persons (PAP) have finally started receiving the compensation promised by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. August 30, 2013 a sum of Rs 1.45 crore was transferred to the bank accounts of first batch of 44 residents of Ambhora-Kala village [5]
Sources and Materials

National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy
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Nicolas Lainé and T. B. Subba (Eds.)
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[6] For a sociology of dam-induced displacements: state-managed dispossession and social movements of resettlement in Central rural India
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The Gosikhurd Dam Project and Transformation of Rural Social Space in Vidarbha, Maharashtra by Joël Cabalion

in Nature, Environment and Society: Conservation, Governance and Transformation in India


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[1]Panel showed up Gosikhurd cracks even 2 years ago
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[2] Gosi-affected to launch protest fast on June 30
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[3] Gosikhurd dam oustees decry resettlement delay
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[4] Rs.1200 crore rehabilitation package for Gosikhurd Project
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[5] Gosikhurd oustees start getting aid
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Farmers protest government move to divert Gosikhurd water
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Gosikhurd dams worth
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,000-crore scam: Gadkari justifies letter lobbying for controversial dam, contractors
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Rs 1,199-cr for Ghosikhurd project-affected gets nod -
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Gosikhurd project: Maharashtra announces relief package
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Wainganga (Gosikhurd) -Nalganga (Purna Tapi) Intra State Link Project
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Gosi Khurd(Indira Sagar) Major Irrigation Project JI00481

Media Links

Manikrao thakrey on gosikhurd project (in Marathi)
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Nagpur : GosiKhurd Dam Project Follow Up
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ContributorSohan Prasad Sha & Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014