Skip to main content

Gujarat government to Centre: Change "disastrous" law which delays, creates hurdles in land acquisition

By Our Representative
In a move that may raise eyebrows of senior Indian activists and experts who contributed heavily in drafting the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013, the Gujarat government has told Government of India that LARR in its present form will “delay” and “create hurdles” in land acquisition for industrial projects, with “massive potential for misuse” by agriculturists. The pro-industry suggestions – in all about two dozen – are learnt to have been mooted under the direct guidance of additional chief secretary, industries, D Jagatheesa Pandian, a top aspirant of Gujarat chief secretary’s post.
Prepared ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat global business summit, scheduled in mid-January 2014, an authoritative document, in possession of www.counterview.net, containing a nutshell of the proposals, wants to particularly do away with “consent” in instituting projects under public private partnership (PPP), because this would “ground projects at the very start”. The document says, “Consent of majority of only affected families should be taken before a designated officer decided by the government.”
In yet another proposal, the document says, while Social Impact Assessment (SIA) may continue to remain essential for “large and typical projects” while acquiring land, “the entire chapter on SIA should exclude small projects which may be taluka, district or state specific.” In fact, is specifies, SIA should exclude “district roads, irrigation canals, power lines and other infrastructure-related projects”, adding, “In irrigation and other environment-related projects, there is a provision of EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)”, so in such type of projects SIA should be excluded.”
The document wants the entire SIA procedures, which has “all the ingredients of delaying the acquisition process”, to be “removed”. As a matter of example it says, ”SIA casts obligations on acquiring body for keeping number of public hearings of all the people in the village which may create hurdles for the land acquisition procedure.” In such scenario, “vested” interests may hamper the process.” Then, there is the provision for creating an organization which will look into SIA, which will only prove to be “financially draining on state exchequer” and will “result into inordinate delay” in land acquisition.
The document does not think it is necessary to link food security with land acquisition. Under LARR, it says, in case of acquisition of fertile land, “equivalent area of cultivable wasteland is to be developed for agricultural purpose” in order develop a new multi-crop area. Saying Gujarat cannot put this in practice, it insists, this is because it is a “highly industrialized and urbanized” state, and hence it will be very difficult for it to “swap cultivable land” with other types of wasteland.
The document wants to redefine “market valuation” for land acquisition. As LARR wants people to know that “land may be in acquisition from the date SIA notification”, this would trigger “lot of land speculation” and “instances of sales between SIA and preliminary notifications”. Hence, valuation based on sales preceding three years from SIA notification should instead be adopted. “Even jantri (rate of registration of sales deed) price on that date may be taken and market value to be fixed as 12% interest should be given to take care of inflation up to the date of award”, it says.
Taking objection to LARR provision for return of unutilized land after five years, the document says, “Starting and completion of many projects need more than five years. Even project reports mention of long scheduling. In such case, returning lands to original owner in the name of non-utilization in five years midway is not only disastrous but also defeats the purpose of the Act. Hence, the section needs to be scrapped or suitably amended. Moreover, though general option is given, it is desirable that the Act provides circumstances in which case land is to be returned to the owners and cases of transferring it to land bank.”
The provision that puts “restriction on change of land use” after land acquisition should be scrapped, says the document, emphasizing, “When compensation at enhanced rate, equal amount as solatium and resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) benefits have been paid, such a restriction is not relevant.” In fact, it says, the lengthy procedure for R&R mentioned in LARR, should be scrapped and replace by Gujarat’s “strong and robust” policy, which requires that the displaced persons to “take care of all affected families and their belongings” with compensation to “the loss to kutcha, pucca structures, shelters, household materials and other belongings of their livelihood etc.”

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

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.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen