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Resettlement Outcomes in the Context of Heterogeneous Land Quality: A Case Study of Adivasi Conservation Refugees in Central India


· Asmita Kabra School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University Delhi (Delhi, India)


07/28 | 09:40-10:00 UTC+2/CEST


Co-authors: Dr Arnab Mukherji (Assoc Prof, IIM-Bangalore) and Sonam Mahalwal (Research Scholar, SHE-AUD)

Forced displacement for public, private or joint infrastructure projects has been a major driver of impoverishment among rural and marginal households in the Global South. Land-based livelihood restoration which retains spatial integrity of previous settlements is considered least disruptive, since it enables households to retain some links with previous livelihood patterns and deploy existing social networks in mutually beneficial ways. Displaced households are often resettled on non-agricultural scrub land brought under cultivation for the first time, with a high probability of variability in farmland quality across different households. Little research is available to indicate the impact of variations in land quality on future livelihoods. This paper examines differences in livelihoods in conservation-displaced villages in Madhya Pradesh, who were resettled during 1999-2001 on de-notified forest land of poor but variable quality. The rehabilitation package included a 2-hectare plot of land for each displaced household. The quality of land at the relocation site varied across and within villages, depending on slope, soil and rock formation, degree of degradation and proximity to source of water. Distribution of farm land to households took place through two types of lottery systems - one took variable agricultural land quality into account, while the other did not. We compare livelihood outcomes between the ‘risky’ and ‘safe’ lottery systems in terms of household income, livelihood diversification patterns and social cohesion.