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

Importance of Bangladesh for India amidst 'growing might' of China in South Asia

By Samara Ashrat*  The basic key factor behind the geopolitical importance of Bangladesh is its geographical location. The country shares land borders with Myanmar and India. Due to its geographical position, Bangladesh is a natural link between South Asia and Southeast Asia.  The country is also a vital geopolitical ally to India, in that it has the potential to facilitate greater integration between Northeast India and Mainland India. Not only that, due to its open access to the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh has become significant to both China and the US.

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.

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".

'BBC film shows only tip of iceberg': Sanjiv Bhatt's daughter speaks at top US press club

By Our Representative   The United States' premier journalists' organisation, the National Press Club (NPC), has come down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recent "attacks on journalists in India." Speaking at the screening of an episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question,” banned in India, in the club premises, NPC President Eileen O’Reilly said, “Since Modi came to power we have watched with frustration and disappointment as his regime has suppressed the rights of its citizens to a free and independent news media."

Natural farming: Hamirpur leads the way to 'huge improvement' in nutrition, livelihood

By Bharat Dogra*  Santosh is a dedicated farmer who along with his wife Chunni Devi worked very hard in recent months to convert a small patch of unproductive land into a lush green, multi-layer vegetable garden. This has ensured year-round supply of organically grown vegetables to his family as well as fetched several thousand rupees in cash sales.

Over-stressed? As Naveen Patnaik turns frail, Odisha 'moves closer' to leadership crisis

By Sudhansu R Das  Not a single leader in Odisha is visible in the horizon who can replace Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He has ruled Odisha for nearly two and half decades. His father, Biju Patnaik, had built Odisha; he was a daring pilot who saved the life of Indonesia’s Prime Minister Sjahrir and President Sukarno when the Dutch army blocked their exit.

Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Ban Ki-moon, others ask Bangladesh PM to 'protect' Yunus

Counterview Desk  A campaign has been launched to support Bangladesh-based economist, micro-finance guru and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, seeking signatures from citizens across the globe in order to “protect” his work, life and safety.

Electricity sharing opens up new window for India’s eastern neighbourhood engagement

By Sufian Asif* Today, challenges like climate change, pandemics, energy reliance, economic crisis, and many more are concerning us. No nation can overcome these obstacles without the assistance and collaboration of other nations. Most importantly, many of these problems have international repercussions. South Asia is facing much more difficulty when compared to other regions. In South Asia, we have some regional organizations, but they are ineffective.

Regional political dynamics 'leading to' institutional violence in SAARC University

By Sandeep Pandey*  South Asian University is a university set up in Delhi by member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Maldives – which is open to students from all these countries. However, as SAARC is receiving little attention these days because of regional political dynamics, it appears as if SAU has lost significance too. Because of the hiatus in peace process between India and Pakistan, the Board of Governors of this University is dysfunctional.

'Vulgar display of wealth': Govt of India using G20 presidency for political, electoral gains

Counterview Desk  Seeking endorsement for a public statement on India's G20 Presidency, several people’s movements, trade unions and other civil society groups have come together to say that not only will G20 and its priorities “will worsen economic, social and climate crisis”, already, India’s presidency is being used “for vulgar display of pomp & for electoral gains.”