Skip to main content

Parliamentary panel "ignoring" farmers, adivasis, while seeking representation on land acquisition law

Gujarat farmers protest land acquisition for nuclear plant at Mithi Virdi 
By Our Representative
Thirty-odd Gujarat-based civil rights organizations, called by non-political farmers' body Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), have taken strong exception to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), formed to collect suggestions into controversial amendments to the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), 2013, for refusing to directly talk to the oustees affected by different projects across India.
In one of the best representations to the JPC made public in the recent past, the joint representation to the JPC said, a formal process of public consultation should have been undertaken "via public hearings, oral submissions etc." because most of the farmers affected by projects cannot make written representations.
"You will appreciate that written submissions will be made by only a limited number of individuals and organisations. Farmers, adivasis, the rural population and other affected poor people who are the primary stakeholders in this process would be at a considerable disadvantage where written submissions have to be made", the submission said.
They said, this was particularly important as LAA 2013 or Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 was "the culmination of decades of struggle by affected people against arbitrariness, injustice and something that – to the affected people – must certainly appear to be a land grab."
"The process of enacting this legislation was also unprecedented", they insisted, adding, inputs were given large sections, political and non-political, academia and practitioners, "thus making it perhaps one of the most in-depth, participatory and inclusive legislative processes ever."
Pointing out that the argument for coming up to amend LAA 2013, that land acquisition for industry was getting delayed is totally wrong, the JAAG-led representation said, "Studies have shown that over 92 per cent of the in-pipeline projects were held up due to reasons other than land acquisition-related issues."
"Clearly, implementation of the Act was not even initiated/attempted and the conclusion was reached that ‘it was unimplementable’.", it said, adding, "The amendments in the Ordinance make a mockery of the ‘consent’ requirement, the heart and soul of the principal Act and the demand over decades by affected people."
What is worse, the representation said, even "temporary acquisitions are also exempt from consent requirements which in our view is altogether unjust." It added, "In our opinion, consent (of the affected families and the gram sabhas) must be mandatory for all acquisitions – government or otherwise, temporary or permanent."
"It is also noteworthy that in the last one year the economy has not shown any signs of revival. In such a situation the question that arises is: what will the government do with the land thus acquired?", wonders the representation, adding, "Surely, the Government would not want to facilitate a process whereby land becomes an easy destination to park the black money fuelling speculative land markets."
Pointing towards how the new proposed amendment is pro-corporate, the representation said, it removes the earlier restriction to “companies registered under the Companies Act 2013” and broadens the scope of acquisition. It empowers the government to acquire it for anyone or anything as per its will, choice or discretion."

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

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.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.