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

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.