Sea Bird was the code name given for the proposed Naval Base of India, the largest in whole Asia. The third Naval Base of Indian Navy was a futuristic mission to provide an integrated base to the operational fleets of Indian Navy and ought to be the first exclusive base for India Navy. Since its conceptual stage the whole project was stained and marred by delays due to different dispensations at the center and state. The rehabilitation and Compensation for the evacuees of project.
Indira Gandhi Government and Sea Bird
This project was conceived in early 70s during Indira Gandhi’s regime soon after the 1971 India Pakistan War. Indian Naval bases at Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam were sharing spaces with commercial vessels. Mumbai had scope for expansion and it was strategically vulnerable, as it was only 900 kilometers away from Pakistani Naval Base at Karachi. So a new exclusive and integrated Naval Base which is strategically and geographically well placed was indispensable. The Project Sea Bird was originally conceived and envisaged by the then Chief of Naval staff O.S.Dawson during 1982. Several surveys and studies were conducted and finally Karwar was chosen. By early 1984 a Naval Detachment had been set up in Karwar. In mid-1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave her approval to the project in principle.
Rajiv Gandhi Government and Sea Bird
This new Naval Base Western Coast was sanctioned in 1985, basically on a strategic plan to complete the project at the earliest by 1995. In 1985, the Ministry of Defence requested the Government of Karnataka "to initiate steps for the acquisition of 8,072.39 acres of land scattered over 13 villages along the west coast." Of this, 5,580 acres was virgin forest, while the rest was private land(2,411.13 acres) or revenue land (81.26 acres). On 24th October 1986 the then Prime Minister Sri Rajiv Gandhi laid the foundation stone and the project cost was Rs. 1,760 crores. The project summoned for the evacuation of the core villages of Arga, Chendia, Aligadda and Binaga, and while laying the foundation Rajiv Gandhi said” We will ensure none of the displaced suffers”..!
The land required for the project was 20,400 acres (8,160 hectares), with a further 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) required for a sterile zone. The project did not take off due to inadequate budgetary allocations to defense. Rajiv Gandhi was in office until 1989, but this ambitious and strategically important Naval Project did not take off.
The Unstable India and Sea Bird
After the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi led Congress in 1989 general elections, the political dispensation at the center was unstable. Since then this instability continued for nearly a decade until 1999. India saw six Prime Ministers including Sri Atal Bihari Vajpeyiji (a short stint of 16 days). Project Sea Bird in Karnataka would have seen the light of the day at least when Sri Deve Gowda from Karnataka became Prime Minister, which did not happen.
Atalji’s Government and Sea Bird
Things changed when Atalji came into power. All the stalled and hindered projects were overhauled and defense sector was given paramount significance. The Project was stained with delays and even after revision of completion schedule to from 1995 to 2005 nothing had changed on the ground until 1998. Sri George Fernandez as the Defense Minister was remarkable and he spearheaded the project Sea Bird and the execution of the marine work commenced.
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Atalji’s Government acted swiftly on Sea Bird Project and within five months after attaining power, GOI made a MOU with the then J.H.Patel government of Karnataka to execute a new wrap up of compensation. MOU was signed on 6th August 1998, which upwardly revised the rehabilitation package. So it was only after Aralji’ attained power, the Sea Bird project which was in the cold storage came into life, and even the Rehabilitation and the Compensation package saw an increment.
The land acquisition process was initiated in the year 1986 and completed in the year 1988, which displaced more than 4000 families in 13 villages. The complete responsibility of land acquisition, rehabilitation, resettlement, compensation distribution was lying with Karnataka State Government. Initially in 1986 the Janatadal government of Karnataka and Congress government at the center had decided the price of Rs.150 per one Gunta Land..! The displaced people protested the apathy of the government and were agitating.
Sonia- Manmohan Government and Sea Bird
Atalji resumed the work of a stalled project of Sea Bird and the remarkable Defense Minister George Fernandez catalyzed the whole process. Within a span of six years 1st Phase of the Project Sea Bird was nearing completion and was ready to be inaugurated. BJP lost in 2004 elections and Sonia Manmohan led UPA came into power. The very next year on 05 May 2005, the then Defense Minister Sri Pranab Mukherji inaugurated the Sea Bird Naval Base..! The Sonia Manmohan led GOI was in power for two terms and in these 10 years the problems of the Sea Bird Project affected families went to the deaf years. The Compensation Scheme was marred in legal hurdles and this was further aggravated by UPA government at the center and Congress government in Karnataka. In 2005, when Dharma Singh’s coalition government with Janatadal was in power in Karnataka, and Pranab Mukherji was the Defense Minister of India, the Project Affected Families who had not received appropriate compensation approached the court. Both the Central and State governments led by Congress refused to give more compensation and argued against the Sea Bird victims in the court of law.
The paltry compensation sum of Rs.150 given per Gunta of Land was challenged in the Court of Law, and the Court enhanced this amount to Rs. 11,500 per Gunta of Land. But the Sonia- Manmohan led UPA government rejected this judgment and appealed at the higher court. The consecutive Defense Estate Officers at Sea Bird Karwar, the Consecutive Defense Ministers of Sonia-Manmohan Government at the Center were adamant to increase the compensation to the Sea Bird evacuees and appealed against the lower district court’s decision of granting higher compensation. This scenario continued until Modiji arrived.
Modiji’s Government and Sea Bird
When Sri Narendra Modiji came to Power in 2014, there were numerous stalled and held up mega defense projects due to the policy paralysis of the erstwhile UPA dispensations. Modiji acted swiftly and many of such projects were resurrected and the long pending issue of Sea Bird Evacuees Compensations was also looked at with compassion. Once the cases in the courts of. law including Apex Court was solved, Modiji’s government made quick decisions and the necessary funds for the disbursements of compensations were sanctioned.
Previous UPA 2 government had deposited only a meager sum of Rs. 78 crore to the Karwar district treasury instead of total compensation amount of Rs. 587 crore. After Modiji came into power the GOI made necessary arrangement to remit the fund to district treasury and so far NDA government has sanctioned Rs. 534 crore. Last February Defense Minister Smt.Nirmala Seetharaman distributed cheque worth five crore to 96 people. As of now, out of 1837 cases Rs. 577,84,85,248 and in 52 cases the compensations amount of Rs. 8,78,32,521 is yet to be disbursed.
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Financial compensation yet to be distributed as the related beneficiaries are yet to provide necessary documents in this context. Repeated reminders have been communicated to the concerned beneficiaries.
ವಿತರಣೆಗೆ ಬಾಕಿ ಇರುವ ಪ್ರಕರಣಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಹಣ ಸ್ವಿÃಕರಿಸುವ ಕುರಿತು ಲಿಖಿತವಾಗಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಮೌಖಿಕವಾಗಿ ಅನೇಕಾವರ್ತಿ ತಿಳಿಸಿದರೂ ಕೂಡ ಇಲ್ಲಿಯವರೆಗೂ ಅವಶ್ಯವುಳ್ಳ ದಾಖಲಾತಿ ಹಾಜರಪಡಿಸದೇ ಇದ್ದ ಕಾರಣ ಪರಿಹಾರ ವಿತರಣೆಗೆ ಬಾಕಿ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ.