Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor in spot: Protest against move to turn land acquisition law corporate friendly

By Our Representative
The Government of India’s move to amend the new land acquisition law, which makes people’s consent mandatory for any effort to take away farmers’ land, has begun. On July 9, hundreds of farmers from 24 villages of Mangoan, Roha and Tala Tehsil of Raigad district in Maharashtra, under the banner of Corridor Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti and Jagatikikaran Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti marched towards sub-division office (SDO), before the land acquisition authority, against what the two people’s organizations calls “forced land acquisition of 67,500 acres for the Dighi Port industrial areas.”
A statement issued by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the apex body of rights-based independent organizations across several states, has alleged, “This devastating pro-corporate scheme will not only rendered farmers from 78 villages landless, but also will snatch thousands of landless people’s allied livelihoods who depend on these lands and make the area food deficit.” The effort to amend the land acquisition law has the support of state governments led by BJP as well as the Congress.
The statement claimed, “All the panchayats from these areas have unanimously resolved not to give their land for this disastrous and pro corporate scheme. The farmers have been relentlessly agitating for last one-and-a-half years against this land grab. Consequently, the Central government, as well as the then chief executive officer of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) asked the state government to drop Dhighi Port from DMIC. Despite this the state government is ruthlessly in the process of acquiring the land.”
“Ironically, the respite given to the farmers under the new Land Acquisition Act (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013) that unless 70 per cent of the farmers from the area give consent for the land acquisition, no land can be acquired , is also being threatened to be amended along with the social impact report section by the Modi government only to make the land grab even more smooth for corporate interests”, the statement says.
“The farmers warned the government to accentuate their protest if the government makes any such anti-people amendments in the new land acquisition Act. They unanimously protested before the SDO against any land acquisition and said not an inch will be parted for Dighi Port and the DMIC which is not only anti-farmers but anti-people and a real threat to the food security of the area”, the statement underlines.
The statement quotes senior activist Ulka Mahajan from Corridor Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti as informing the authorities that the claim that most of farmers are willingly parting their land for the port is “a totally false propaganda as through information acquired through right to information (RTI) clearly indicates that only 5 per cent of the total land is going to be sold to DMIC that to not by farmers but by vested interests like builders land dealers who came from outside and they are not farmers.”
The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is a mega infra-structure project of USD 90 billion with the financial and technical aids from Japan, covering an overall length of 1483 KMs between the political capital and the business capital of India, i.e. Delhi and Mumbai. Distribution of length of the corridor indicates that Rajasthan (39 per cent) and Gujarat (38 per cent) together constitute 77 per cent of the total length of the alignment of freight corridor, followed by Haryana and Maharashtra 10 per cent each and Uttar Pradesh and National Capital Region of Delhi 1.5 per cent of total length each.

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