Tuesday 30 June 2015

Land acquisition legislation: RESPONSE

Shri Premdhar Malaviya has sent the following response to the summary of issues given in our last post. Readers are requested to respond with their comments and views. The process of consultation on the Land Acquisition Legislation is still going on. The Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee set up for this purpose is continuing its deliberations. It would be good to keep pressing our views and opinions at this stage. JKB.

After My comments are as under:

Exempted Categories
Land should only be acquired for strictly defined purposes. I agree with your suggestion that the Government should directly amend the clauses that it finds inadequate.
Expansion of Private Interests
I agree that the amendment proposed by the Government should be withdrawn.
Acquisition for Private Hospitals etc
If private hospitals etc meet the needs of the local people, there will be no difficulty for  private parties to buy land for it. I agree with you that acquisitions for private interests are not justified.
Consent Clause
Once the suggestions made above are accepted, there will be no question left of the Government acquiring land for private interests. And, while obtaining people's consent sound very good, in practice it will only lead to bickering and endless delays once political parties which want to slow down the Prime Minister join the fray. I strongly disagree with your position.
Social Impact Assessment
Social Impact Assessment is, in practice, a very imprecise thing which can never satisfy the people and should be done away with. The sovereign rights of the people can be respected by making it mandatory for State Governments to elicit public opinion and to obtain the consent of institutions of local self-governance and gram-sabhas before they frame Rules for land acquisition. One can reasonably expect a democratic govt to be alive to the social impact of any project that they sponsor.It is very difficult to agree to your position.
Provisions to safeguard Food Security
I have suggested earlier that farmers should have the option to ask for equal amount of cultivable land in addition to the market price of the land plus solatium etc or to ask for enhanced compensation. I agree with you that the proposed amendment should be dropped.
Depriving certain acquisitions from the benefits of the Act
Diverting acquired land for purposes other than the original is fraught with dangers. If at all such diversion is thought to be necessary, then public opinion must be elicited and consent of local bodies and gram-sabhas must be taken; else the original acquisition must be voided after, say, ten years.
Expanding Protection to offending Government Servants
I agree with your proposition
Industrial Corridors
If we want industries to come to the interiors, the govts must have leave to "designate" minor roads also. I do not agree with you on this point

P. D. Malaviya

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