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by the editor, it is on the resettlement aspect that the most interesting insights and an empirically rich analysis based on extensive field researches is provided.
By what seems to be a pre-determined format, case studies have been conducted on the Hirakud, Nagarjunsagar, Ukai and Pong dams. Though not mentioned, it is pertinent to point out that all these dams are large dams; medium and small are other categories of measurement based on the irrigated area. The choice of these four dams is stated to be due to their location in what the editor calls the 'four geographical zones'. One wonders since when the four zones (East, West, North and South) can be equated with geographical ones, which depend not on the division of the country, but on the geographical characteristics. In case the ill-informed reviewer has mistook the geographical zones to be the directional ones, it is due to the absence of finer geographical details in the book like arid or semi-arid or such standard terminology which is used to describe the location of irrigation projects. Similarly the selection of dams could have been done on the basis of the location of the headworks—nearer to the source or in the hills, in the plains or further down the plains. If such a classification could have been provided, then the reader could even envisage alternatives to large dams.
The absence of such finer details points to the neglect of the technical and economic aspects of the dam, which ostensibly was not the project of the study, merely the plight of displacement was. However, the economic, technical and other social aspects are referred to when it is convenient to buttress the argument against displacement. This confuses the reader—if displacement is to be examined outside the ambit of the broader socio-economic impact of dams, then can it be called a movement, other than a resettlement one? With this methodological approach, we find a rich analysis of the impact of displacement and a very weak section on the critical analysis of dams, to the extent of indicating a prejudicial understanding that all dams, at all times and all locations are undesirable.
The dams under study are all post-independent, spanning the period from the late forties to the seventies. This broad time span could have been utilised by the study to compare changes in planning and modes of protest in three different time periods (late forties; fifties; and the sixties). This could have brought out the emergence and crystallization of the green movement against dams in the eighties. However, the finer details of the different time periods have not been alluded to, and the case studies have been conducted with a fixed notion of time and the value judgement of the eighties.
It is only fair to make these preliminary methodological comments, for though this book is a collection of essays, it has a collective purpose. It has emerged out of the project undertaken by MARC (Multiple Action Research Group), with a centralised planning,