Skip to main content

NDA may amend land acquisition law through ordinances, yet Ministries acquire land using their own laws

Gujarat protest against land acquisition for N=plant in Mithi Virdi
Counterview Desk
A Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) study has revealed that the NDA government has not just refused to invoke crucial provisions of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013 -- social impact assessment (SIA) and people's consent -- for acquiring land ever since it came to power. It has not even invoked some of the "positive" provisions of LARR Act, which remain intact in the ordinances, issued by it to dilute SIA and consent.
The study by the research team of CHRI, which is a well-known Delhi-based advocacy group, says that despite amendments in the three ordinances (issued in December 2014, April 2015 and June 2015) for the purpose issued in order to repeatedly stall implementation of LARR Act, the Union ministries have gone ahead with land acquisition processes under the laws administered by each Ministry.
In fact, Venkatesh Nayak of CHRI says, none of the notifications issued in the first half of 2015 indicate that land was acquired by any Ministry "for defence purposes or rural electrification or affordable housing or housing for the poor – 'special categories of public purposes' for which the appropriate governments may waive the requirement for doing SIAs and the subsequent procedures."
"These exceptions were introduced into the LARR Act through the ordinances", Nayak adds. The CHRI's research team's analysis involved 219 notifications ifor acquiring land, and another 274 for intentions to acquire land. The period taken up for the study is from January 1 to June 30, 2015.
All the 219 land acquisition notifications involved the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways, Railways, Coal and Petroleum and Natural Gas were issued for “public purpose”, the study says, yet, interestingly, to implement them "the sector-specific land acquisition laws administered by each Ministry" were invoked, apparently to ensure that comensation as well as resettlement and rehabilitation issues (part of LARR and the ordinance) are sidetracked.
The Ministries acquired land "for the purpose of building new highways or widening existing ones; prospecting or actually mining for coal; laying down railway tracks (segments of the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors among others) and pipelines for transporting petroleum, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)", the study says.
While, land was acquired by these four Ministries in 1,584 villages situated in more than 263 talukas in 141 districts across 22 states, the study says, two land acquisitions took place in Schedule V areas (inhabited by members of Scheduled Tribes) in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
It adds, a large number of segments of land acquired are wetland or irrigated agricultural plots. This happened even though the law requires that any land acquisition in a Scheduled Area must obtain prior consent of the Gram Sabha or the panchayat.
Coming to intention to acquire land by the Ministries of Railways, Road Transport and Highways, Coal, Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Metro Railway in the first half of 2015, the study says, the 274 such notifications issued for various developmental projects involved 2,320 villages in more than 403 talukas in 157 districts across 21 states.
"These Ministries declared their intention to acquire land under their sector-specific land acquisition laws instead of the LARR Act, 2013 despite being brought under this law through the Ordinances issued in December 2014 and again in April and again June 2015 for the purpose, determining compensation and ensuring rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced persons", the study underlines.
Most of the notifications during the six month period were issued in Uttar Pradesh (34) followed by Rajasthan (33), Gujarat (27), Karnataka (24) and Tamil Nadu (19). In terms of the most number of villages in any state affected by these notifications, Uttar Pradesh tops with 553 villages, followed by Karnataka (349 villages), Chhattisgarh (25 villages), Rajasthan (172 villages) and Gujarat (166 villages)", the study says.
At least seven notifications were for projects in scheduled areas -- three in Jharkhand (two in Ranchi and one in East Singhbhum), and in four in Chhattisgarh (two in Jashpur, and one each in Korba and Surguja. Two notifications for acquisition and five for intentions to acquire land involved private company -- Reliance Industries Ltd -- for the purpose of laying pipelines for transport of natural gas through the State of Madhya Pradesh."

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.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

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.

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.

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.

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.