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Publication Date

Fall 2010

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Katherine K. Cushing


Economic Impacts, Maharashtra, Resettlement, Sardar Sarovar Dam, Social Impacts

Subject Areas

Environmental Studies; Social Research


In many countries large dams provide electricity, irrigation and water for drinking, and sanitation purposes. Infrastructure development strategies often neglect social and environmental impacts to affected peoples, flora and fauna. Sardar Sarovar Dam, one of the largest dam projects undertaken by the government of India, has displaced millions of people since the 1980s. This research assesses the economic, social and environmental impacts on resettled families due to construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Under study was the resettlement of 1,500 families to Taloda taluka, in the state of Maharashtra. Government documents were reviewed for approximately 1,500 families; face-to-face interviews were conducted with 24 households from May to August 2008. Data analysis was performed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, correlation, and coding for qualitative responses to open-ended questions. It was found that families owned less livestock and land and grew fewer varieties of crops after resettlement. They did not see significant increases in income. Important cultural ceremonies were disrupted because extended families were dispersed due to resettlement. Many families who originally lived by the river missed their old riparian habitat since they were resettled in a markedly different environment. The study documents some of the significant negative environmental impacts on riparian and aquatic ecosystems. Based on this study's results, this research puts forward a dam resettlement model for future dam projects.