Irrigation · Madhya Pradesh

Pawai Dam Project displacing people without Rehabilitation, allege PAFs

Above: Broken, Silted Canals of under construction Pawai Project on Ken River in MP (SANDRP photo)

The Ken Yatra while going through the Panna district were told by Project Affected People that the Pawai Medium Irrigation Project (PMP) under construction is displacing the people without just compensation or rehabilitation.

The Ken Yatra observed that the construction work of the PMP is happening in full swing in Madhya Pradesh. The dam is being built at ‘Tendu Ghat’ on Ken River in Panna district to supply irrigation water to 9952 hectares (the board at the project site erroneously says it will irrigate 30 000 ha) of agricultural land falling in Pawai and Gunnor tehsils. The construction work also involves creation of a massive canal, including a few aqua-ducts on Ken river and its tributaries. 

The canal passes through Surro (about 6 km Downstream from the dam), Pipriya Doun (about 12 km D/S), Simradur (about 18 km D/S), Boda (about 22 km D/S), Jaipal Nagar (about 24 km D/S) and other villages. Tribals of Surro and Villagers of Simra Bahadur told the Yatra that they are being displaced by the canal construction without proper compensation and rehabilitation.

The Project Affected People narrated that the project proponents and contractor are evicting the villagers forcefully. Last week, they said, about 18 houses in Simra Bahadur Basti were demolished. There are around 38 houses in the village. About 23 villagers were partially compensated and 15 were asked to vacate the village without any relief. Villagers alleged several irregularities in execution of canal work and corruption in distribution of compensation.

Broken, collapsing canal of the PMP, Panna (SANDRP Photo)

As per them the alignment of canal is different from survey done decades back and paltry compensation is given to villagers affected by canal construction as per that survey whereas the construction is happening on un-surveyed land and the actual affected are being chased out of their homes without any relief.

Simra Bahadur affected villagers narrated how they have been going pillars to post and some how have managed to stop canal work for the time being. The Simra Bahadur canal work affected villagers were already displaced in 2005 flood and they are being displaced second time in a decade. They showed us documents as well of having given complaints to local authorities and also the representation during hearings for the Project that sadly took place in Panna, 80 kms away from their homes.  Their desperation was evident in their voices.

Broken Canal near Boda village, Pawai Project, MP (SANDRP Photo)

Villagers also feel that the project has made the area more flood prone as the aqua-duct built about 3 km D/S from the dam has inadequate passage for the Ken River Floods. The floods in the upstream have already worsened considerably since the construction of the aqua-duct. This is worrying everyone, including those who hope to get irrigation benefit from the project.

Similarly, people of Pipriya Doun village complain that canal work is happening on irrigated land and they are being given compensation fixed for unirrigated land which is almost half the rate for irrigated land.

Aquaduct of PMP under construction, Ken River Floods have worsened due to this, people say (SANDRP Photo)
PMP aquaduct project site and damaged canal, Village Boda, Pawai (SANDRP Photo)

A villager of Surro also reported that they are living in forest land for decades and affected by canal work but are not being compensated at all. They have not been given any right as per the Forest Right Act.

The cracked / broken canal could be seen near the aqueduct being built around Boda village and elsewhere. The local landscape appears to have gone through an immense change due to PMP work. The aqueduct might be ready in another couple of months according to those present there, but no one knows when the water will arrive.

Submergence area The Pandheriya village located hardly two hundred meter upstream of the dam site is living in continuous hazardous condition created by construction company (Sarthi). Worst noise and air pollution is happening there.

The construction company has put in place no mechanism to check it the air or noise pollution, violating the conditions of environment clearance and Environment Management Plan. There is no green curtain or shield or muffler fixed to minimize deafening sound of trucks, JCBs,heavy machines working round the clock. Similarly no sprinklers have been installed or used to reduce dust pollution.
On the top of it the company has set up couple of crusher units very close to the village which is covering the entire village in dust clouds. The impact is so immense that the sky remains hazy making stars almost invisible even during starry night. The people’s health must be so severely impacted due to this continuous pollution and noise. There are about 50 households earning livelihoods from 150 acres of land. The villagers have not been compensated properly hence they have refused to leave the village.
There are no toilets built for workers. Nothing seems to be done for solid waste management.
The construction work has also affected wildlife in the river. Yatra was told that workers are fishing and hunting turtles in the River which are trying to survive amid rising water level. At least two Muggar deaths have been cited by villagers. Two weeks ago the workers reportedly crushed the head of a Muggar which seemed to be protecting its nest. Similarly in 2017 flood a Muggar dead body was seen entangled in iron rods of half built structure.

Ken Yatra Participants (Contact:

One of the houses and bunch of Sagon and Amla trees to be cut for the PMP canal (SANDRP Photo)


  1. EIA-EMP of the project are not in public domain. An internet search led to following links:

Hindi Executive Summary of EIA:

English Executive summary of EIA: (LINK NOT WORKING)


  1. The Public hearing report found: However, This provides names of only ten persons and some comments by them, not even list of all those present. If only ten persons were present, that reflects VERY POORLY about the public hearing. Not giving all names is clear violation of EIA notification.
  2. COMPLIANCE REPORTS NOT AVAILABLE: The project proponent was supposed to submit compliance reports every six months from date of Environment Clearance 27.11.2014, so there should have been at least six or seven compliance reports, but there is none. Similarly, there is NO MONITORING REPORT about this project either, on the
  3. The Pre Qualification Tenders for the Dam of this project was floated 31 May, 2012, long before either the environment clearance was issues (27.11.2014) or final forest clearance letter was issues (10.09.2014), in complete violation of EIA notification, Environment Protection Act and Forest Conservation Act.
  4. The Canal passes through the forest land, but the project has still not applied for forest clearance for the forest land required for the Canals. This is also in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.
  5. Even with respect to the Forest Clearance, the project is supposed to submit annual compliance report, but the forest clearance website for this project has NO COMPLIANCE REPORTS, again in violation of the Forest Clearance.
  6. The Fact Sheet about the project says: “The project does not involve displacement of any person.” This is complete lie, with hundreds of ha of land being taken for the submergence and the amount of land required for the canals, colony, roads, mining, dumping of muck, drainage, etc. is not even mentioned anywhere in the documents.
  7. The project should have sought Wildlife clearance from Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh because the project will seriously, adversely affect the water flow into the Panna Tiger Reserve. But unfortunately, neither the project has sought such a clearance, nor got, at least there is no information about this in public domain. This should also have been a consideration in the forest clearance and also should have been mentioned in the EIA.
  8. No Rehabilitation Plan in public domain.
  9. As recorded in the minutes of the Technical Advisory Committee meeting of Ministry of Water Resources on 30.09.2016, whose clearance is necessary before starting a project, the project work started BEFORE getting TAC clearance. The committee expressed its displeasure with a warning that no future Major and Medium project will be undertaken without TAC clearance. The TAC clearance also warned that the project will be completed by March 2018, as cost and B:C ratio is valid only till that date. The project has clearly violated that condition.
  10. Since the project displaces Schedule Tribe population, an approval of the R&R plan from Ministry of Tribal Affairs is necessary, but it is not clear if any such approval has been obtained.

Pawai dam canal at aquaduct, jaipal nagar, mundwari (SANDRP Photo)




Public hearing date: 31.01.2014

SEAC meeting where the project was discussed and recommended clearance: 27.09.2014

SEIAA meeting where the project was discussed and recommended for clearance: 28.10.2014

Date of EC: 27.11.2014

Forest Clearance:

Site Inspection Report date: 14.05.2012

FAC considered it on: 04.09.2012/ 01.2013

Received for Stage I FC: 10.01.2013

Stage I Forest Clearance: 22.02.2013

Final FC: 10.09.2014

Accepted by CWC Advisory Committee: 30.09.2016.

Pawai Irrigation Project BOARD (SANDRP Photo)


River: Ken

Dam location: Pandheria Village, Shahnagar Tehsil, Panna District, Madhya Pradesh (105 km from Panna)

Dam Height: 37 m

Dam Length: 806 m, including 632 m earthen dam and 174 m concrete dam

Catchment area: 995 sq km

Avg Rainfall: 1189 mm

Design flood: 5862 Cumecs

FRL: 339.5 m

MWL: 340.5 m

75% Dependable yield: 217.99 MCM

Submergence at FRL: 1790.85 Ha

Submergence at MWL: 2000 Ha

Forest Land in submergence: 238.36 ha

Number of trees in submergence area: 9084 (above 15 cm girth)

No of villages in submergence area: 18

Project Affected Families: (Submergence alone): 540

Pvt land of schedule Caste people going in submergence: 57.28 ha

Pvt land of Schedule Tribe people going in submergence: 226.07 ha

Total Pvt Land in submergence: 621 ha

Govt revenue land in submergence: 931.49 ha

Gross Storage capacity: 123.8 MCM

Live Storage Capacity: 108.45 MCM

Water allocated to the dam: 100.99 MCM

Water Allocated for irrigation: 45.99 MCM

Water for industry and drinking: 35.67

Area to be irrigated: 9952 ha in 37 villages ONLY FOR RABI CROP

CANALS: 13.172 km feeder canal; 12.49 km Right Main Canal: 14.95 km Left Main Canal; 12 Minors with total length of 41 km

COST: Rs 261.54 crores (2009 Price Level)

Under Construction Dam of the Pawai Project (SANDRP Photo)

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