Home » Blog » In bid to push industry, Tamil Nadu breaks hearts of land-losers
In bid to push industry, Tamil Nadu breaks hearts of land-losers
The Times Of India, 21 Fb 2014, Chennai: Acquisition of land for dalit welfare, state highway and industrial projects in Tamil Nadu was on Thursday exempted from the purview of a central law that provided for a compensation of up to four times the market value of the land, dealing a blow to hundreds of people whose properties are being taken over for various projects across the state.
The state government passed a legislation to circumvent the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, enacted by the Centre last year. The state bill, aimed at facilitating speedy land acquisition for many ongoing projects, has a one-year validity. The central act had a provision for states to enact such legislations for a limited period of one year.
“The bill passed in the state legislature has far-reaching consequences as the government is planning to acquire about 53,000 acres for industrial purpose alone, primarily to set up industrial estates,” CPM MLA K Balakrishnan told TOI. Balakrishnan had raised objections when the bill was tabled in the assembly by revenue minister B V Ramanaa. It was, however, passed with a voice vote.
All those who have lost land to Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) and have been fighting battles for many years for a fair compensation may also be hit by the legislation, fear farmers. The land owners would have got a hefty compensation if the settlement was done as per the provisions of the central act.
Even while exempting land acquisition for 13 purposes like atomic energy, railways, tramway, ancient monuments, petroleum and minerals pipelines, and metro rail from the purview of the new land acquisition act, the Centre had refused to give any such privilege to industrial projects, Balakrishnan said. By exempting acquisition of land for industrial purposes from the purview of the central act, the government has done grave injustice to the farming community, he said.
The central legislation, which replaced more than a century-old Land Acquisition Act of 1894, provides for a minimum compensation of four times the market price in rural areas and two times in urban areas. Consent of 80% of land owners is required for purchasing land for private use and 70% in the case of public-private partnership projects. Moreover, a social impact assessment has to be carried out before the acquisition process starts. The land owners are eligible for rehabilitation and resettlement compensations like houses, a one-time allowance or jobs. The new rule will apply retrospectively to cases where compensation is yet to be paid, for instance the NLC case. The Centre is yet to frame rules for the act, though it has come into force on January 1 this year.
“None of these protections are there for land owners while government acquires land for projects exempted from the ambit of the new act. When the government empowers itself to unilaterally decide on land acquisition, there is no guarantee that land owners will get a fair price. Most land acquisitions carried out by the Tamil Nadu government in the past have ended in legal battles because compensation offered measured up to hardly 10% of the market value,” Balakrishnan told TOI.