People’s Movements, Farmers Organizations, Women’s Groups, Activists, Lawyers, Concerned Citizens call upon President
Not to Assent to Anti-People Telangana Land (Acq) Amendment Bill, 2016
“Back Door Entry of Unconstitutional GO 123 is Anti-Farmer”
28th Feb, 2017: A large number of People’s Movements, Farmers Organizations, Women’s Groups including National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, (WSS), Mahila Kisaan Adhikar Manch (MAKAAM), Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), Human Rights Forum (HRF), Telangana Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (TVVU), Caring Citizens Collective (CCC), Mallanna Sagar Project-affected People’s Organization, along with well-known activists, academics and lawyers including Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Dr. Sunilam, Prof. Uma Chakravarty, Sujatha Surepally Padmaja Shaw, Jeevan Kumar, Kiran Vissa, P. Chennaiah and many others sent a letter to the President of India calling upon him not to assent to the anti-farmer, anti-people Telangana Land (Acquisition) Amendment Bill, 2016.
The letter states emphatically that the Bill completely nullifies the progressive provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 passed by the Parliament of India and would result in immense harm to lakhs of small and marginal farmers, landless families and displaced persons, most of who are dalits, adivasis, women in the State of Telangana. The letter indicates that The Land Acquisition and R & R Act, 2013 includes consultation with Gram Sabhas, social impact assessment, options assessment and minimizing acquisition/destruction of farm land, acquisition of minimum multi-crop land only as the last option, ensuing food security, recognition of the livelihood rights of landless, fair compensation, land-based R&R etc, return of land unutilized even after 5 years etc. However, the proposed Telangana Bill violates these and many other key provisions.
The Amendment Bill strikes a death blow to the concept of Welfare state that must protect the marginalized communities and instead gives legislative sanction to state-sponsored real estate, through private agreements with land-owners and mere payment of meagre cash to all other landless / livelihood losers. By exempting defence, national security projects, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing and housing for the poor people, industrial corridors, infrastructure and social infrastructure projects including PPP projects, the Govt. has effectively insulated most projects from the pre-requisites of SIA, determination of public purpose and mandate to attend to food security concerns.
The letter stresses that the Bill is a rehash of the draconian GO MS No. 123 that was stayed by the High Court, as it violates several fundamental rights, including Article 14, 19, 21 (life and livelihood). If this Bill becomes law in the state of Telangana the very premise of enacting the comprehensive LA & R&R Act, 2013 would become redundant. The Bill is a pernicious attempt of abuse of constitutional provisions. Since the Centre has already passed the 2013 Act, the state governments only have a ‘limited’ right vis-à-vis declaration of ‘better’ compensation and ‘better’ rehabilitation and resettlement than the LA Act 2013, and can in no way dilute the 2013 Act itself.
The Petition reminds the President that as per Article 254 (2) of the Constitution and the Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a landmark Constitution Bench decision in Kaiser-I-Hind Pvt. Ltd. v. National Textile Corporation (2002), he has every right and responsibility to ensure a complete and active application of mind and objective examination of the overall facts and circumstances.
The full text of the letter, along with a critique of the Act is attached herewith. For more details, please write to Meera at firstname.lastname@example.org or call @ 7337478993 or Kiran @ 9701705743