Skip to main content

Participants at national seminar apprehend, the new land acquisition Act will camouflage democratic rights

Medha Patkar
By Madhuresh Kumar
The Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, enacted recently, “will not end the land conflicts, nor will it provide relief to the millions who have been displaced, and hence there is a need to bring urgent amendments to the Act and also give inputs to process of rule making for Act”, social activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan said reflecting the views expressed at the two day national meeting on “Struggle for Land Rights and New Land Acquisition Act”, where representative several social movements from 10 states took part at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, Lingraj Azad, leader of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, Odisha, said, “Unfortunately, the new Act attempts to promote cash based compensation. Movements and struggles across the country might differ on the Act’s nuances, but are somewhere very closely related. All the movements are based on the struggle to survive and are not anti-development. Our reading is that, to counter the empowering laws as the forest rights Act or the fifth schedule, the new Act has been passed. The nexus between the politicians and corporates for money and power has led to the path of destruction.”
Lingraj Azad
Bhupinder Singh Rawat, of the Jan Sangharsh Vahini, said that housing complexes and industrial units “take advantage of the rise of prices and earn huge profits, but that should be shared with the farmers who lose the land.” In fact, the benefits must be democratically decided and distributed, including on the ownership over land. Unfortunately, the Act makes an attempt but it’s not adequate.”
Smita Gupta of the Communist Party India (Marxist) said the new Act is a step towards abolishing the concept of common property itself. “There is an attempt at giving role to Gram Sabha and public consultations at many stages but, unfortunately, the government can easily override the social impact assessment and the environment impact assessment and are not made binding in that sense”, she said.
“Consent has been made very redundant and no particular provisions to define and understand are illustrated”, said Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, member, Parliamentary Standing Committee, lamenting that “the suggestion to improve the preface of the Act was accepted but the intent was negated. The Gram Sabha, an elected body, has been made subservient to the executive authority and the collector has become once again the key figure in the new Act, which is unfortunate.”
Mani Shankar Iyer
KB Saxena, former rural development secretary, Government of India, said the previous attempts to make amendments to the Act have been half-hearted, and only when it was found that it would benefit of the companies that the 1984 Act was changed. In 2002, the first time National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy was drafted under pressure from movements, but more importantly from World bank. “Hence, the democratic pretention in the new Act is a fa├žade”, he said.
Anil Chaudhary of INSAF said the issue of land is extremely grave and Parliament did not even properly listen to the standing committee. “This shows the gravity of the situation and the powerful influence of people involved in the matter”, he said, adding, “Thus, the hunger and greed is not merely about a few projects but is part of a larger process. Corporate houses today exist on non-existing floating capital. The fight in the future is going to be directly with the companies.”
Prof Manoranjan Mohanty said, “We have to reject this Act and strengthen the movement. Within the possibilities of the law and scope of its improvement through guidelines, the bureaucrats will misuse this law in favour of the corporate lobbies, knowing the law will help us fight against those them.”
Prafulla Samantra of the Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha, said, “Things we have gained is through movements, but things have been diluted. Other than that, there is not much to gain from the law. It is also a concession given to powerful classes to grab more land – and favour mining and other groups which earn huge profits.”
Prof Amit Bhaduri, speaking at the concluding session, said that “the important issue today is pursuit of an investment model based on the form of free or very subsidized natural resources. This is what needs to be fought, and unless this can change we will continue to witness this fictitious growth promoting inequity and injustice.”
---
A short commentary on the Land Acquisition, prepared by the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), which organised the seminar, was distributed. Click HERE to read

Comments

TRENDING

Junk food push causing severe public health crisis of obesity, diabetes in India: Report

By Rajiv Shah  A new report , “The Junk Push: Rising Consumption of Ultra-processed foods in India- Policy, Politics and Reality”, public health experts, consumers groups, lawyers, youth and patient groups, has called upon the Government of India to check the soaring consumption of High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) foods or ultra-processed foods (UPF), popularly called junk food.

Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

Astonishing? Violating its own policy, Barclays 'refinanced' Adani Group's $8 billion bonds

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by two global NGOs, BankTrack and the Toxic Bonds Network, has claimed to have come up with “a disquieting truth”: that Barclays, a financial heavyweight with a “controversial” track record, is deeply entrenched in a “disturbing” alliance with “the Indian conglomerate and coal miner Adani Group.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Asset managers hold '2.8 times more equity' in fossil fuel cos than in green investments

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi*  The world’s largest asset managers are far off track to meet the  2050 net zero commitments , a new study  released by InfluenceMap , a London-based think tank working on climate change and sustainability, says. Released on August 1, the Asset Managers and Climate Change 2023 report by FinanceMap, a work stream of InfluenceMap, finds that the world’s largest asset managers have not improved on their climate performance in the past two years.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

Victim of 'hazardous' jobs, Delhi sanitary workers get two thirds of minimum wages

By Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) organized a Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop for sewer workers and waste pickers from all across Delhi NCR. The workshop focused on bringing sanitation workers from different parts of Delhi to train them for organization building and to discuss their issues of minimum wage, contractual labour, regular jobs and social security.