Repeal Land Acquisition Act | Protect Land Rights
Legislate A Comprehensive Development Planning Act
New Delhi, May 9 : The issue of land acquisition and agitation is at its violent peak again, on the outskirts of the Capital, in NOIDA and across Western UP. The British legacy and law (of 1894) is still being used to forcibly acquire land for the designs of the new masters even if in the name of public purpose and the farmers have realised the game. Land which has become gold and is leading to a mad rush by not just the corporate but the politicians – bureaucrats to all sections of our elite class, the neo-investors. It is forgotten that land is a life support of the farming population along with landless agricultural labourers, coastal fish workers to urban poor and necessary for food security of the nation. The ambitious plan of urbanisation and infrastructure are therefore taking a toll of the people’s capital : land with minerals, ground water, tree cover and forest to fish – the aquatic wealth as well as the living communities / habitats and their commons.
The land acquisition which the foreign rulers had to make forcible is now being challenged directly and indirectly by affected communities demanding “no forcible acquisition of land” or “replacement of resources ensuring alternative sustainable livelihood options” for truly public purpose projects. The urban elite to industrial investors earning huge profits out of the land which the state transfers to them for ‘development’ ‘activity’ are also questioned and a share in the supposed national development is demanded, rightly so.
The farmers of NOIDA, Aligarh, Nandigram, Jagatsinghpur, or Narmada all have raised questions regarding the purpose which indicates private interest when politicians too behave like profiteers. Time has, therefore, come not only to amend the Land Acquisition Act for further favouring the nexus but to repeal the age old British Act and grant the communities its right to plan development as also to accept or reject any proposal (from the state or investor) or proposal for the same.
Such a democratic principle goes well with the constitutional provision regarding ‘local self government’ which are further strengthened through Article 243 and further through PESA 1996-97 for the Scheduled tribe areas.
UPA Government, Ajit Singh, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati everyone is at the most talking of the package and amending the land acquisition act, getting it passed in the parliament at the earliest. This however, is no solution. It is the cure worst than the disease.
This amendment proposed since 2007 even if with rehabilitation policy – 2009 is trying to legitimise private purpose and interests as a part of the ‘public purpose’ as a category and will then further and facilitate acquisition cum purchase for the scale of displacement but not even do justice in terms of fair compensation, rehabilitation, security and livelihood.
It is unfortunate that many a recommendation by the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the XIV Lok Sabha, which gave a patient hearing to diverse positions, consulted various ministries and state government are not fully incorporated in the Drafts of the amended Bills of 2009. This is an undemocratic and unparliamentary action, which needs urgent correction before anything is placed in the legislatures.
Majority of the political parties demanding the amendments have not engaged critically and merely asked the government to revise it. It needs to be reiterated that it is not only a question of creating a win – win situation for farmers and industry which can be solved by doling more and more money, as it is being projected by political parties and certain politicians who are vouching for the Haryana model.
The fact remains that it is not only the landed farmers whose interest are involved and need to be protected but millions of farm workers, landless labourerers, dalits, adivasis who are dependent on land and other resources and it is a question of their right to life and livelihood. Any legislation has to protect their right to livelihood and ensure protection of the rights of communities over the land and common property resources.
PS : All related documents, Bills etc. on this issues @ http://napm-india.org/node/326
For details call 9818905316
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, ‘A’ Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014;
6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
We demand that UPA government MUST
1. NOT pass the proposed Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill in
their current form in the Parliament. UPA attempted this towards the end of the 14th Lok Sabha and also
on the last day of the Monsoon Session in extremely secretive manner without any debate and adequate
prior information. We oppose all such undemocratic, attempts legislative or otherwise.
a) Forcible acquisition and eviction of people from land, water, forests, rivers and seashores or for
aquatic wealth and minerals.
b) Displacing people from habitats, rural and urban, without prior alternative and acceptable
rehabilitation, with their consent.
3. REPEAL Land Acquisition Act and ENACT a Comprehensive National Legislation on Development
Planning inclusive of just and fair, livelihood-based rehabilitation of the minimally affected people
and enunciating the principle of least displacement, just rehabilitation and a decentralized development
planning based on Article 243 of the Constitution, PESA 1996 and Forest Rights Act, 2006. Incorporate
the progressive elements of the Standing Committee on Rural Development (2007-08)
4. ENSURE that the urban poor who are unprotected workers receive their due right to land and shelter,
related to livelihood bases, with strict ceiling on urban lands and STOP displacement and rehabilitation
through a nexus of builders-politicians-bureaucrats. Promote self-reliant, affordable housing through the
State and co-operatives for the needy population.
a) PESA Act, 1996, scrupulously following the principle of free, prior and informed consent of the
adivasi communities and extend it to all other Gram Sabhas before any development Plan or Project,
whether public or private is planned and finalized, involving use and change in use of the resources
within the domain of a community.
b) Forest Rights Act, 2006 in all forest areas of the country and any change in the land use in any
forest area and any land acquisition be subject to settlement of claims and entitlements under Forest
6. ISSUE a White Paper on all the land acquisition, displacement caused and rehabilitation completed
since independence. The White Paper must also make public the extent of land utilized, unutilized and
land acquired for public purpose but remains occupied by sick and non-functional industries and other
7. MAKE PUBLIC all the details and documents of each and every project, its impact on people and
natural resources, as livelihoods and the benefits vis-à-vis costs under Section 4 of the Right to
Information Act, which has remained mostly unimplemented, till date.
8. DISCLOSE details of all the MoUs signed by the Government of India and the state Governments
with different private and public corporations, companies and others, which have land acquisition
requirements and hold public dialogue – especially with affected people.
9. ENSURE that minimum and just rehabilitation for all project-affected people in all sectors should be
declared as National Policy, leaving scope for finalization by the communities as their right to planning
as per the Development Planning Act.
Sangharsh is a collective platform of social movements and people’s organisations from across the country struggling against the process of neo-
liberal globalisation and capitalist development leading to SEZs, big infrastructure projects, mining, etc. leading to massive displacements of the
working class people and traditional craft persons, weavers, fisher people, forest workers, farmers, dalits, women, minorities and adivasis/IPs, etc.
Contact Address: Sangharsh, C/O 6/6, Jungpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Bipin Chander (09868807129), Madhuresh Kumar (9818905316), 011 – 26680883/ 914