Skip to main content

Top corporate house Essar "acquires" land in a midnight swoop: "Result" of Central confusion on land acquisition law

By Our Representative
Taking advantage of the utter confusion prevailing at the top policy level on the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), 2013, for which an amendment ordinance was floated for the third time by the Government of India May this year, top industrial house, Essar Power, is alleged to have "forcibly" acquired land it had sought for a coal corridor it is constructing from a nearby jetty to the 1,200 MW power plant at Salaya, Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
The acquisition took place, say sources, following Essar Power receiving official nod for acquiring the land without invoking the consent clause or going in for social impact assessment, which were the most important provisions of the LAA, 2013. The NDA government in Delhi is seeking to remove these provisions through its controversial ordinance.
In a mid-night swoop, say sources, the company “forcibly” took possession of farmers’ and common grazing land in Mota Maanda, Parodia and other nearby villages of Khambalia taluka of Devbhoomi Dwarka district of Saurashtra region. The operation took place between the night of June 30 and July 1. It took place with the help of local armed cops under the direct supervision of the district superintendent of police, the district collector.
Meanwhile, the midnight operation has heated up the political atmosphere, with Congress’ national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil saying that this suggests the government and the top corporate house are "hand-in-glow", caring little for farmers’ rights. Local MLAs from Jamnagar and Dwarka Dharmendrasinh (Hakuba) Jadeja, Merambhai Ahir and Raghavjibhai Patel are up in arms, supporting farmers whose land has been lost.
The company it is said, had sought 17,69,986 square metres of land for building the corridor. When the company floated the proposal to acquire land, the price it was officially asked to pay for the land was very low, about the same as the government-assessed rate, jantri, which is generally two or three times lower than the market rate. The district collector took the final decision to allow land acquisition for Essar.
Gohil
Objecting to this, Gohil said, “When Essar proposed the coal corridor, the LAA came into force. Yet, ignoring the LAA’s provisions, which would require consent and social impact assessment, as also four times the amount of the price of the land, and taking advantage of confusion on it at the highest level in Delhi, the state government announced the award”.
“Fertile land around the common grazing land was forcibly taken away from farmers by applying the already abrogated 1984 land acquisition law. The matter is currently pending before the Gujarat High Court, which has ordered a stay on government action on the ground that the land cannot be acquired without consent of concerned farmer”, Gohil said.
In the meantime, fear has come to stalk farmers that Essar Power, which wants to build the corridor to transport coal from a nearby jetty, would additionally pollute the farmlands in the vicinity, with the government failing to ensure an assessment of the destruction caused to the environment.
Putting up a list of demands, Gohil, who is former Opposition leader, said, the Gujarat government must act against the officials who worked in favour of the corporate house by acquiring land under the already dropped colonial era land acquisition law. 
“All common grazing land which Essar has taken should be returned to the farmers, and no land should be taken from the farmers without their consent”, he added in a statement.

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

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.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex , into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”