Answers to some very commonly and frequently asked questions related to the Sardar Sarovar Project are briefly presented here.   

Q. When it is estimated that over one million people will lose land or be otherwise severely affected by the various components of the project and no comprehensive surveys have been completed by the Project authorities then why the project is being pushed ?

The contentions that over one million people will lose land and no comprehensive surveys have been done are totally unfounded.

The Resettlement & Rehabilitation issues of SSP was dealt with by the NWDT constituted in 1969 under Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956. The NWDT Award in its final order & decision of December, 1979 defined Oustee and the Family as follows :

(a) Oustee :

An oustee shall mean any person who since at least one year prior to the date of publication of Notification u/s 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, has been ordinarily residing or cultivating land or carrying on any trade, occupation or calling or working for gain in the area likely to be submerged permanently or temporarily.

(b) Family :

A family shall include husband, wife and minor children and other persons dependent on the head of the family, e.g. widowed mother.

The NWDT Award stipulations deal only with the oustees associated with the submergence due to Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The no. of Project Affected Families (PAFs) associated with the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) was initially estimated by the NWDT Award. The NWDT initially estimated 6147 PAFs in M.P. and 456 PAFs in Maharashtra in its Award of December, 1979 for R&R.

Soon after the NWDT Award, a comprehensive socio-economic survey of  villages under submergence  has been carried out by independent social sciences agencies including Project Authorities. The main aim of this assessment was to find out the category-wise no. of families and their preference in rehabilitation to chalk-out detailed programme of their rehabilitation, keeping in view the socio-cultural and ethnic milieu. In 1988 when the project was cleared by the Planning Commission, it was estimated that 12,180 families in the three States will be affected (Gujarat 3,322, Maharashtra 1,358 and Madhya Pradesh 7,500). Based on these numbers, the State Governments independently prepared their Action Plans and announced their R&R Policy based on NWDT Award.

Further relaxation in criteria for PAFs.
A sizeable percentage (49.6%) of the affected population are tribals and hence attention had been paid by the State Governments to liberalise the policy for protecting their socio-economic and cultural milieu and to expend the R&R benefits to other categories of persons who were not covered under NWDT Award. Following criteria was considered for declaring PAFs :

    • Major sons of 5 dyke villages of Gujarat now got PAFs status.
    • Cut-off date for major sons in Gujarat & Maharashtra was extended to 1.1.1987.
    • Delay in issue of section 4 notifications in M.P.
    • Tapu land (island) holders considered as PAFs.
    • Encroachers considered as PAFs in 3 States.
    • Major unmarried daughters considered as separate families in Maharashtra.
    • Genuine PAFs left out earlier included.

In view of this, the States have estimated the number of PAFs again in 1992 as 30,144.
Based on comprehensive database, past experience in R&R in other project and liberalised R&R policy, the three State Governments had prepared their individual Action Plans in early 1993. The three State plans were integrated by NCA first in 1993 and again in 1995 as an integrated Master Plan to present a holistic picture of the R&R programme. This Master Plan deals with socio-economic and cultural milieu of PAFs, the legal framework, R&R policy and procedures, implementation machinery, organisation for R&R, Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E), participatory approach, empowerment of women and youth special care for vulnerable groups, appeal mechanisms, consultation with oustees, action plan long-term and annual, financial plan for R&R etc. The content of the Master Plan is based on experiences on R&R in India and abroad, suggestions given by NGOs, environmental/ social activists and the World Bank. As per 1995 Master Plan, the total PAFs increased to 40,727 from 30,144. The total number of PAFs now has become 40,882. The latest position of total number of villages & PAFs in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat affected / likely to be affected due to SSP are given below :

Submergence Villages, Project Affected Families / Persons & no. of land owner PAFs








Submergence villages

- Partial

- Fully

- Total








33 *










No. of Project Affected
Families (PAFs)






No. of Project Affected
Persons (PAPs)


19650 +




No. of land owners /
co-sharers PAFs.





Out of 33 villages coming under submergence in Maharashtra, 12 villages have less than 25 ha. of private land getting submerged, 6 have less than 50 ha. and one village in deserted. Thus 19 villages out of 33 villages are only marginally affected.

(**) Out of 192 submergence villages of Madhya Pradesh, in 82 villages less than 10%of agriculture land, in 32 villages 11% to 25%, in 30 villages 26% to 50%, in 14 villages 51% to 75%, in 4 villages 76% to 90%, and in 1 village 100% agricultural land will be submerged. In 20 villages only abadi (habitation) will be affected due to back water, in 9 villages only Govt. waste land will be submerged.

In view of the above facts, the contention that no comprehensive surveys have been completed by the Project authorities and that  Government figures are only estimates is baseless.