MAC: Mines and Communities

Indian government's new assault on land rights legislation

Published by MAC on 2015-02-15
Source: Statement (2015-02-05)

Perhaps nowhere is the advancing "modification" of India - a process of deepening the alliances between the government of Narendra Modi and corporate forces - more evident than in the attempt to do away with provisions for rural dwellers of land, covered by the country's Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 (LARRA).

As the following detailed statement by the Advisai (tribal peoples) Campaign for Human Rights makes clear, a government ordinance, introduced at the end of last year, would set aside five hard-won safeguards for hundreds of thousands of people.

These are ones covering social impact assessments, mandatory consents of the affected people, provisions to safeguard food security of the communities, punishment of offending government officials, and the return of unutilised land to the original land owners.

The Campaign cites Tata Steel, Bokaro Steel, and Essare, as companies which have already violated one or more of these safeguards, and more mining companies are certain to benefit from this betrayal in the near future.

The new Modi Government made "Make in India" its motto. Several reform measures have been announced. As a result, fresh investment shot up. In all, around 8,000 New Projects were announced, of which, according to Investment in India, the top ten are listed below.

Notable is the fact that four of the ten are infrastucture projects, three are in steel, and one is for coal.

1st - Chennai Metro Rail Project - Phase II worth Rs 36,000 crore, in Tamil Nadu

2nd - Steel (Kakkabevenhalli) Project worth Rs 30,000 crore, in Karnataka

3rd-  Port (Nakkapalle) Project worth Rs 29,750 crore, in Andhra Pradesh

4th - Bina Refinery Project - Expansion worth Rs 23,500 crore, in Madhya Pradesh

5th - Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali Metro Rail Project worth Rs 20,000 crore, in Maharashtra

6th - Steel (Chhatarpur) Project worth Rs 20,000 crore, in Madhya Pradesh

7th - Helicopters (Odisha) Project worth 15,000 crore, in Odisha

8th - Coal-Based Power (Odisha) Project worth Rs 12,500 crore, in Odisha

9th - Shipyard-cum-Capitve Jetties (Nana Layja) Project worth Rs 12,316 crore, in Gujarat

10th - Steel (Kalinganagar) Project - Expansion worth Rs 12,000 crore, in Odisha

‘Adivasi Campaign’ demands rejection of the Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2014

http://www.adivasirights.org/full_news.php?news_id=2

5 February 2015

In order to address historic injustices committed against mainly indigenous peoples of India under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, the Government of India enacted the ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013’ (LARRA) on 27 September, 2013 and the Rules for the LARRA on 19 December, 2013. The present BJP led National Democratic Alliance government introduced an ordinance on 31st December 2014 to amend the LARRA. The Ordinance set aside the five major safeguards – social impact assessment, mandatory consent of the affected people, provisions to safeguard food security of the communities, punishment to the government officials and returning of unutilised land to the original land owners.

These amendments effectively reintroduced the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and ought to be rejected for the following reasons:

1. Social Impact Assessment:

First major amendment was made to strike out the Social Impact Assessment (SIA), which is one of the most important components in the ‘Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013. The SIA is a methodology to review the social, cultural and environmental consequences of a development project on the affected communitiesso that mitigation plans could be put in place in advance. The chapter – II of the principal Act has been provided to determine the social impact and public purpose of the project. The Social Impact Assessment study would assess whether the proposed acquisition serves public purpose. It would estimate affected families and the number of families among them likely to be displaced. It would estimate the rehabilitation, resentment, requirement of land the projects, cost benefit and overall impact of the project to the affected people. The Social Impact Assessment study would be completed within the period of six months from the date of its commencement. It seems that the present central government sees the social impact assessment study as one of the major obstacle for the mega projects.

Therefore, the Chapter IIIA was incorporated through the ordinance, which empowers the appropriate Government to exempt the provisions of Chapter II and III in the public interest in five major areas – national security, rural infrastructure, housing, industrial corridors and public private partnership projects. Thus, there would be no social impact assessment study and mandatory consent of the affected people, which is the assassination of the spirit of the ‘Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013’. The displacement induced by the development projects is a major area of concern.

It has been estimated that there were about 60 million displaced persons/project affected persons (DPs/PAPs), since independence to 2000[1] and as per Government sources at least 75 percent of them have not been rehabilitated[2]. The Expert Group on Prevention of Alienation of Tribal Land and its Restoration set up by the Government of India estimated that, of the total displaced due to development projects, 47 per cent are tribal population[3]. The Constitutional provisions and protective laws – Land laws, the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), Forest Rights Act (FRA), etc have special safeguards for protection of tribals’ individual and community right to land and forest, religious identity, cultural, tradition and self-determination.

The consequences of not complying with the social impact assessment in land acquisition for industrial development are vividly demonstrated in the cases of three mega development projects – Tata Steel Ltd (TSL), Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) and Bokaro Steel Ltd (BSL) in Jharkhand. The Study reveals that these projects had been established without undertaking any social impact assessment. The DPs/PAPs mostly the tribal people lost their identity, culture, tradition, language and system of self governance. As per the study report, 43,925 people of 12,550 families of 24 villages were displaced by the TSL, 40,000 people of 12, 990 families of 23 villages were uprooted by the HEC and 30,095 people of 6019 families of 51 villages were displaced by BSL[4]. Presently, the DPs/PAPs of the above projects have assimilated in the crowd of daily wage labourers, rickshaw pullers and domestic servants.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) observed that rehabilitation is not up to mark in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects. For instance, APIIC acquired 9287.70 acres of land (6922.29 acres of Patta land and 2365.41 acres of Government/assigned land) during 2007-08 inAtchyutapuram, Rambilli mandals of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh for development of integrated SEZ. The rehabilitation pay out was proposed at Dibbapalemand Veduruvada villages for the Project Displaced Families (PDF) and the cost of rehabilitation package was worked out at 106.21crore. 5079 families were affected in 29 villages (15 villages in Atchyutapuram mandaland 14 villages in Rambillimandal). It was observed that only 1487 families could be shifted to Dibbapalem till date.

Further, out of 4300 plots developed for the major married sons of the affected people, only 3880 could be allotted. In Vedurvada too, no plots had been allotted till date[5]. It clearly shows that once the land is acquired, the developers never bother for the rehabilitation of the project affected people. Secondly, the land is also acquired more than the actual requirement for the project. For instance, 31,287.24 acres of land was acquired for the Bokaro Steel Limited, Bokaro in 1965 for establishment of a steel plant with the capacity of 6 MT per annum. However, merely 15221.92 acres of land was utilized for the actual purpose of the project and rest of the land remained unutilized for years. Later on, out of 15221.92 acres unutilized land, 2246.01 acres were diverted to other government agencies and 417.66 acres subleased illegally[6]. Therefore, the social impact study must be undertaken in all development projects.

2. Mandatory consent of the community:

Second major change was made regarding the mandatory consent. It has been provided in the section 4(1) of the Principal Act that ‘whenever the appropriate Government intends to acquire land for a public purpose, it shall consult the concerned Panchayat, Municipality or Municipal Corporation, as the case may be, at village level or ward level, in the affected area[7]. Further provided that ‘the appropriate Government shall ensure that adequate representation has been given to the representatives of Panchayat, Gram Sabha, Municipality or Municipal Corporation’[8].

The protection provisions provided under PESA and FRA were upheld by incorporation of Chapter IIIA. The ordinance clearly denies the mandatory consent of the community in land acquisition for the major projects. How can the land of farmers and Adivasis be acquired without their consent, when the Government actively involves the corporate sector in each and every policy formation for them? How can democracy be so selective? Is democracy one day business in every five years for the farmers, Adivasis and poor?

Indeed, it is a serious concern for the states having Fifth and Sixth Scheduled areas, where the Constitutional provisions, PESA 1996 and Land Laws prohibit the transfer of tribal land to non-tribal, and requires their consent if their land were acquired for the public purposes. These laws also recognized the identity, culture, custom, tradition and rituals of the community. Similarly, the Forest Rights Act 2006 recognized the individual and community rights of the Adivasis and other forest dwelling communities. Therefore without the mandatory consent, land cannot be acquired. For instance, two Industrial corridors, namely Koderma – Bahragora and Ranchi-Patratu-Ramgarh have been proposed in the Jharkhand Industrial Policy 2012. It proposes to acquire the land of 25 KM each side of 4 laning between Koderman and Bahragora[9]. In the proposed industrial corridor, the major part of the land belongs to the Adivasis, who are historically marginalized.

The Supreme Court of India in the case of “Orissa Mining Corporation Ltd Vs Ministry of Environment reinforced that section 4(d) of the PESA Act 1996, which provides that every Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions, customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and community mode of dispute resolution. Therefore, Grama Sabha functioning under the Forest Rights Act read with Section 4(d) of PESA Act has legal obligation to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the STs and other forest dwellers, their cultural identity, community resources etc”[10]. Thus, the Government can’t curtail their rights in any manner, much less through an ordinance.

A High Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal community of India, constituted by the Indian Government known as ‘Xaxa Committee’ reiterates that ‘Land is the basis of their socio-cultural and religious identity, livelihood and their very existence. Their lives are closely interlinked with forests for food, fuel, medicine, fodder and livelihood. Their God and guardian spirits reside in hills, forests, groves etc. Traditionally, ownership of land was by the community and economic activity mainly agrarian, including shifting cultivation, which fostered egalitarian values which influenced their power relations and organizational system. Forest and hills are the main source of tribal identity[11]. Therefore, merely providing compensation without considering the socio-economic conditions and consent of the community would not serve the purpose.

3. Food Security:

Third major amendment was done to strike out the special provision to safeguard food security provided in the chapter – III of the principal Act. The section 10(1) states, “No irrigated multi-cropped land shall be acquired under this Act”[12]. Provided that in case of inevitability, (3) ‘whenever multi-crop irrigated land is acquired under sub-section (2), an equivalent area of cultivable wasteland shall be developed for agricultural proposes or an amount equivalent to the value of the land acquired shall be deposited with the appropriate Government for investment in agriculture for enhancing food-security’[13]. However, the above provisions have been struck out by the ordinance, which would create severe food insecurity in the country precisely because its 55 percent population[14] depends on agriculture for their food security. The experience of last two decades indicates the decline in both food production and yields. It has been observed that during the period 1996-2008 as compared to the years 1986-97, the growth rate in food grain production declined very sharply from nearly 3 percent to around 0.93 percent and the growth rate of yields in food grain also declined from 3.21 percent to 1.04 percent[15]. Therefore, the food security cannot be compromised in any case also because there is rapid population growth in the country.

4. Liability of government officials:

Fourth significant change made was related to liability of the government officials committing offence under the principal Act. In the principal Act, Section-87(i), it was provided that “Wherever an offence under this Act has been committed by any department of the Government, the head of the department shall be deemed guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly”. Further Section-87(ii) states that “where any offence under this Act has been committed by a Department of the Government and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any officer, other than the head of the department, such officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly”. This has been substituted by “where an offence under this Act has been committed by any person who is or was employed in the Central Government or the state Government, as the case may be, at the time of commission of such alleged offence, no court shall take cognizance of such an offence except with the previous sanction of the appropriate Government, in the manner provided in section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure”. Thus the ordinance protects the officials who commit offence in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement.

The studies and government sources confirm that at ‘least 75 percent of displaced people have not been rehabilitated[16] in last 5 decades. Similarly, the CAG observed that the rehabilitation is not up to mark in the SEZs[17], which is serious concern. It is obvious, that the Government officials do not focus on rehabilitation and resettlement precisely because they are neither held accountable nor punished for the non-performance. Hence, the accountability needs to be fixed for the achievement of the objectives of principal Act. Therefore, the provision for punishment needs to be reinforced.

5. Returning of unutilized land:

Fifth major amendment was done regarding the return of unutilized land by incorporation of “substitution of period” in the section 101 of the Act, which is again the denial of the rights to original land owners with the clear intention to protect the corporate interest. The section - 101 in the principal Act provides, “When any land acquired under this Act remains unutilized for the period of five years from the date of taking over the possession, the same shall be returned to the original land owner or owners or their legal heirs[18]. There are many cases, where the land was acquired under the provisions of ‘public purpose’ but remained unutilized for years and later on some part of land was diverted against main purpose it was acquired for. For instance, 12,708.59[19] acres of land was acquired for the Tata Steel, Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) in 1907 but only 2163.1 acres land was used for the actual purpose till 2005 and rest of the land remained unutilized. Out of this, 4031.075 acres of land was illegally sub-leased[20]. 7,199.71 acres of land was acquired for the Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi in 1958 but 4,008.35 acres of land was used for the actual purpose and rest 2,910 acres of land remained unutilized[21]. Out of it 793.68 acres of land subleased illegally.

It seems that the ordinance was brought with the clear intention to protect the corporate interests. Those corporate will harvest the benefit, who have acquired huge chunk of land under the purview of ‘public purpose’ but unable to utilize for many years and later diverted the land for pure commercial purposes. It was proved in the CAG report on the performance of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) 2012-13, tabled during the winter session of the Parliament. The report reveals that the land acquired by invoking the ‘public purpose’ under the section 6 of Land Acquisition Act 1894 didn’t serve the objectives of the SEZ Act[22].

As per the CAG report, since the enactment of SEZ Act, 576 formal approvals of SEZ covering 60374.76 hectares was granted in the country, out of which 392 SEZs covering 45,635.63 hectares have been notified till March, 2014[23]. Out of 392 notified zones, only 152 have become operational (28488.49 hectares). The land allotted to the remaining 424 SEZs (3188.6.27 hectares, which is 52.81% of total approved) was not put to use, even though the approvals and notifications in 54 cases date back to 2006[24].

The CAG further observed that out of the total 392 notified SEZs, in 30 SEZs (1858.17 hectares) in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Gujarat, the Developers had not commenced investments in the projects and the land had been idle in their custody for 2 to 7 years[25]. The report also reveals that only a fraction of the land so acquired was notified for SEZ and later de-notification was also resorted to within a few years to benefit from price appreciation[26]. In terms of area of the land, out of 39245.56 hectares of land notified in the six states, 5402.22 hectares (14%) of land was de-notified and diverted for commercial purposes in several cases[27]. The CAG has criticized developers, including Reliance, DLF and Essar, for acquiring land for SEZs but using only a fraction of it and most part of the land remained unutilized. It is a clear denial of rights to the communities.

Conclusion and Recommendation:

The Land Acquisition Ordinance defeats the prime objectives of the ‘Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013’ The provisions under chapter – II & III i.e. social impact assessment, mandatory consent of the affected people and provisions to safeguard food security of the communities constitute soul of the principal Act. Making the provisions under section – 87 regarding offence & punishment to the government officials and section – 101 regarding the returning of unutilized land to the original land owners, non-applicable has shattered the confidence of the land owners and project affected persons, whose moral was otherwise boosted up by the provisions of the principal Act.

There seems to be pressure of the corporate business lobby, real estate developers and political class. A very important point needs serious attention is that the principal Act has been implemented for a year and there is no difficulties or negative consequences reported by the government while land acquisition but the provisions were trucked out merely on the basis of assumption not empirical data. The empirical evidence of the earlier period does not support government view[28].

Indeed, the land acquisition ordinance assassinates the spirit and denounced the prime objectives of the principal Act, which was brought to ensure the right to fair compensation to the project affected people and maintain transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement. The Principal Act intends to right the historic wrong done on the projects affected people in the name of economic growth, development and national interest in the country for last several decades. Therefore, the government must withdraw the above stated five major amendments from the Ordinance for protection of the rights of the land owners and project affected communities especially the Adivasis/Scheduled Tribes of India.

--

[1] Report of the High Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal community of India published by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, May, 2014.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Minj, Sunil & Dungdung, Gladson. 2013. Vikas Ke Kabargah. Bihar-Jharkhand: Desaj Prakashan.
[5] CAG Report on the performance of SEZ for the year 2012-13
[6] The documents provided by the Bokaro Steel Limited under the Rights to Information Act.
[7] Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Jharkhand Industrial Policy, 2012.
[10] WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 Orissa Mining Corporation Ltd versus Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others.
[11] Report of the High Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal community of India published by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, May, 2014.
[12] Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Itterah, Anil Chandy. 2013. Food Security in India-Issues and suggestions for effectiveness. New Delhi: Indian Institute of Public Administration.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Report of the High Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal community of India published by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, May, 2014.
[17] CAG Report on the performance of SEZ for the year 2012-13
[18] Right to fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013
[19] The documents provided by the Deputy Commissioner of Jamshedpur under the Rights to Information Act.
[20] Ibid.
[21] The documents provided by the Department of Revenue and Land Reform, Govt. of Jharkhand under the Rights to Information Act.
[22] CAG Report on the performance of SEZ for the year 2012-13
[23] Ibid.
[24] Ibid.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Gill, Sucha Singh. 2015. Land ordinance not fair, transparent. Chandigarh:The Tribune, February 2.


INDIA: Regressive changes to land acquisition law must not be enacted

Amnesty India press release

24 February 2015

Indian lawmakers should reject any amendments to the land acquisition law that do away with crucial human rights safeguards and could lead to forced evictions, Amnesty International India said today.

The government is planning to soon introduce in the lower house of Parliament the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015. The Bill, if passed, will replace an executive ordinance that made changes to key provisions on consent and social impact assessment related to land acquisition in December 2014.

“The land acquisition ordinance extended compensation and rehabilitation benefits to communities affected by certain kinds of development projects,” said Aruna Chandrasekhar, Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International India. “But it also dismantled safeguards that are central to the land acquisition law, undermining the rights of communities to participation and consultation.”

The land acquisition law, which came into force in January 2014, stated that the consent of 70 per cent of families is mandatory where land is sought to be acquired for public-private partnership projects, and 80 per cent for private projects. The executive ordinance removed these requirements for a range of projects, including those relating to defence and national security, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure.

The ordinance also exempted these projects from having to go through a social impact assessment – a study by independent experts to map a project’s impact on people’s lands and livelihoods, and its economic, social and cultural consequences, in consultation with affected communities.

“It is surprising that the government does not seem to want to learn about the social impact of a project before approving land acquisition for it,” said Aruna Chandrasekhar.

“Without a social impact assessment, rehabilitation and compensation measures are likely to be flawed and inadequate. Exempting projects from these assessments can in effect deprive communities of the opportunity to be consulted on decisions that have far-reaching social and economic impacts on them.”

“Parliamentarians must instead insist on a law that requires private and state-owned companies to carry out human rights due diligence.”

The land acquisition law initially did not apply to acquisition carried out for projects under 13 central Acts, including for coal mining by the state. The ordinance extended the law’s provisions on compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to these Acts.

However, the requirements of consent and social impact assessment still do not apply to acquisition carried out under these 13 Acts. A provision requiring the consent of communities in ‘scheduled areas’ - Adivasi regions identified under the Constitution as deserving special protection - also does not apply.

“Under international law, the government has a duty to meaningfully consult with Adivasis, who are among India’s most vulnerable people, and seek their consent on projects that affect them,” said Aruna Chandrasekhar.

“The government must ensure that development projects do not end up jeopardizing human rights. Instead of rushing to amend a law that has barely been implemented, Parliament must address existing gaps, and consult affected communities and other stakeholders to ensure that development is both holistic and sustainable. ”

Background

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, in its original form, fell short of international standards on human rights impact assessment; free, prior and informed consent; consultation and rehabilitation. The Act came into force on 1 January 2014, replacing the Land Acquisition Act of 1894.

In recent months, the government has passed a series of executive orders which undermine communities’ rights, including: removing the requirement of public hearings with affected communities for coal mines of certain sizes seeking to expand their production; making certain categories of projects exempt from requiring environment clearances and consulting communities; and diluting requirements of gram sabha consent where certain forest land is sought to be used for industrial purposes.

International human rights law and standards, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples mandate the seeking of the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities in decisions that affect them.

According to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, companies should have in place a human rights due diligence process to identify, prevent and mitigate their impacts on human rights. States can impose a requirement for human rights due diligence where business operations pose a significant risk to human rights.


India: #LandBill: Amendments do not address key issues related to FPIC and SIA

http://www.amnesty.org.in/show/news/landbill-amendments-do-not-address-key-issues-related-to-fpic-and-sia/

11 March 2015

Amendments to India’s Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday do not address key issues related to consulting communities and conducting social impact assessments, said Amnesty International India today.

“Some of the amendments passed by the Lok Sabha are progressive, but others are merely cosmetic,” said Aruna Chandrasekhar, Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International India.

“The amendments require social infrastructure projects to obtain the consent of affected communities and assess social impacts. However, many other projects continue to be exempted from assessing social impacts.

“Without a social impact assessment, rehabilitation and compensation measures are likely to be flawed and inadequate. Exempting projects from these assessments can in effect deprive communities of the opportunity to be consulted on decisions that have far-reaching social and economic impacts on them.

“Projects under 13 central Acts also remain exempted from seeking the Free Prior Informed Consent of Adivasi communities.

“While the amendments state that the government must restrict the extent of land acquired to the minimum required, this cannot be a substitute for adhering to human rights safeguards.

“The Rajya Sabha must ensure that it engages in meaningful consultations with civil society groups before amending the law, and ensure that any amendments comply with international standards.”

Under international law, India must protect people from human rights abuses by third parties, including private and state-owned companies, and prevent forced evictions. It must seek the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities in decisions that affect them.

 


 

Solidarity with Opposition Parties' Protest March against Land Bill

Rajya Sabha must let not the anti-farmer-labourer Bill to be passed!

17th March 2015

New Delhi: We welcome the Opposition Parties unity and steadfast opposition to the undemocratic way in which NDA government has brought in the Land Ordinance 2014, now Land Bill 2015 passed by Lok Sabha. The bullish approach of govt was condemned and opposed by the Opposition in Lok Sabha and now they have rallied together and vowed not to get this anti people legislation passed in Upper House.

We express our solidarity to the protest march being organised by the opposition parties on March 17th in Delhi against the anti-people land bill. In a parliamentarian democracy, the need for effective opposition to keep undemocratic moves of the ruling government under check is imperative and we are happy that the opposition parties have taken a clear stand against the regressive anti-farmer-labourer bill which is to serve the interests of corporates at the cost of people, agriculture and nature of our country. We sincerely hope that this protest will manifest itself into a strong collective opposition in Rajya Sabha against the passing of this bill.

Peoples Movements have been opposed to the forcible land acquisition for years and have contributed immensely to the enactment of the Land Act 2013. The land bill has become a political issue and we are happy to note that parties have organised marches, demonstrations, hunger strikes and lobbied against the NDA govt. People's movements continue to oppose this and demand no changes to 2013 Act, but we would also like to stress the following and urge the political parties in Opposition, who are in power in many states that:

1. Government must bring a white paper on all the land acquired, used till and lying unutilised in land bank of various state departments. this is necessary to prevent any unwanted and unrequired acquisition.

2. Let there be a moratorium on the acquisition of any fertile and irrigated land. This is essential for the food security of the nation.

3. On lines of Nitish govt in Bihar, we urge all parties to pass a resolution against this bill and vow not to implement it in their states.

4. As a long term measure to address the demands of the movements, let governments distribute the land to landless and implement forest rights, so that land rights of the people be protected.

5. While, we look at preventing further displacement, there is a need to provide R&R to Crores of project affected people, who have suffered in the name of development.

6. Lastly, people should not only be at the heart of any development project but also in its planning and hence Gram Sabha and Basti Sabha must be made a part of any development planning in the country.

We do hope opposition parties will include these demands too and also appeal to all secular-democratic and pro-people forces to join the movement against the land bill on the ground as well as in the parliament and to demand immediate withdrawal of the bill.

--

National Alliance of Peoples' Movements, All India Union of Forest Working People, Delhi Solidarity Group, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Pennurium Iyakkum, Jan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, Kosi Navnirman Manch, Paryavaran Surksha Samiti, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Yuva Kranti, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan


Nation-wide protests against the anti-farmer-worker Land Ordinance 2015

Movement for Land Rights

No to Land Acquisition! We Demand Land Rights!!

6 April 2015

New Delhi - The Modi Government has once again proven that it is indeed anti-farmer-labourer and pro-corporates by promulgating the land ordinance 2015 on the eve of 3rd April. Turning a complete blind eye to the nation-wide fierce opposition to the ordinance, neither did the government hold any dialogue with people's movements and affected farmers / labourers groups nor did it pay any attention to the political parties that have opposed this draconian ordinance. With the single-minded agenda of kneeling before the corporates while crores of our citizens are exploited, displaced, disposed and deprived, this government has shown that it simply does not care for the poor and toiling people, for our land, agriculture and nature.

The 2015 ordinance has once again removed important clauses of seeking consent for private projects and from land owners for PPP projects. It has also removed the much required Social Impact Assessment, mandated by the 2013 Act, showing its lack of seriousness to understand the impact of development projects on the lives of the people and affected groups. Rather than addressing the needs of poor and widespread landlessness, the Modi government is using the mandate for taking the country forward to circumvent all parliamentary procedures and is hell bent on misusing its powers only to ensure private profits, putting the lives of millions of citizens at risk, in the name of development.

However, we the people's movements, workers unions, farmer organizations and concerned citizens of this country will not allow this government to take this undemocratic and anti-people move and will intensify our opposition in every nook and corner of the country. We want to remind Mr. Modi that it is not merely about the "perception", but about lives, livelihoods of our people and agriculture and nature of this country!

The protest against the land ordinance has intensified all over the country with several people's movements, trade unions, farmers and labourer organisations under the banner of Bhoomi Adhikaar Andolan burning copies of this ordinance across villages, blocks, district and state headquarters in Sonbhadra, Lakhimpur Kheri, Chitrakoot, Jaunpur, Saharanpur, Gonda, Lucknow and Allahabad, (Uttar Pradesh) on 5th -6th April. Protests and ordinance burning were also organised in Rewa, Chhindwara, Panna, Yawal, Gwalior, Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh); Bhusawal, Jalgaon, Yawal, Chopra, Avalner, Faizpur, Nandurban, Taloda, Akkalkua (Maharashtra); and at Tapi, Songarh, Sagbara, Nijjar, and Dediyapada (Gujarat) and in Narmada Valley. The ordinance was also burnt widely in West Bengal, Tripura, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur etc. It was also burnt yesterday in Haryana and will be done in Himachal Pradesh on 7th April.

Demands for withdrawal of the ordinance and for land rights will continue in every nook and corner of the country with planned State-Level Conventions, Mass Mobilisation, Padayatras, Rail Roko, Rasta Roko and Human Chains in states like Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu in the upcoming weeks.

In solidarity with protests by people across the country against this anti-democratic and anti-people ordinance, various groups gathered at Jantar Mantar burnt copies of the ordinance to mark their protest. They demanded immediate stopping of the loot of natural resource and recognise the constitutional commitment to people's rights over land, water and forests and resources. Vandana Shiva, N D Pancholi, Com. Sunit Chopra, Kavita Krishnan, Anil Choudhary, Rajneesh Gambhir, Rajendra Ravi, Vijoo Krishnan, Amit Bhatnagar addressed the gathering.

All India Kisan Sabha (36 Canning Lane), All India Kisan Sabha (Ajay Bhavan), National Alliance of People's Movement, All India Union for Forest Working People, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, INSAF, All India Agricultural Workers' Union (36, Canning Lane), Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union (Ajay Bhavan), All India Krishak Khet Mazdoor Sanghatan, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Harpal Singh), Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andolan, Kanjhwal Bhumi Bachao Andolan, Socialist Centre, Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Nimka Thana Bhumi Adhigrahan Virodh Manch, Lokadhikar, Adharshila Learning Centre, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi Solidarity Group, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, Yuva Kranti, Sarvahara Jan Andolan And many other Organisations

Bhumi Adhikaar Andolan is a coalition of peoples' movements, farmers and peasant organisations and trade unions

Contact: 9818905316, 9958797409, 9911528696, 9818864006

Home | About Us | Companies | Countries | Minerals | Contact Us
© Mines and Communities 2013. Web site by Zippy Info