Ordinance on Land Act Unconstitutional and Anti People
People’s Movements to Organise Against its Passage in Parliament
Every Forced Acquisition on Ground Will Face Stiff Resistance
Today’s Cabinet decision approving the Ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act 2013, even before the law has been actually implemented on the ground is completely unacceptable and reminds us of the anti democratic and authoritarian streak of this government. In six months of its existence NDA government has already used the Ordinance route three times.
We fail to understand what is the Emergency at this moment that, NDA government has to take the Ordinance route. This is only being done as a measure to benefit the Corporate Houses and nothing else. 20 Lakh Crore investments are not stuck because of the new land act, since the law has only been in existence for one year.
The land acquisition act, 1894 was amended precisely to resolve the conflict due to forcible land acquisition, give farmers their due and meet the needs of the industrial development. Today’s decision will only increase that conflict since large scale forcible land acquisition for the industrial corridors will be norm, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor alone has plan for acquisition of 3,90,000 Hectares of land. Industrial Corridors, big infrastructure projects, dams etc cause the maximum displacement and environmental damage and the new land Act was to address situations arising out of that.
Amendments to Fulfill Corporate Agenda
We strongly oppose this move and believe that this government is completely anti-poor and is only interested in pushing forward the corporate agenda. It is a Ambani-Adani Sarkaar – a Company Sarkaar, which is out to sell the democratic rights of the people and democratic traditions of law making in the Parliament in the name of business. The new Act was framed after consulting all the stake holders and over a period of seven years after going through two Parliamentary Standing committees (2007 & 2009), both headed by senior BJP leaders, Shri Kalyan Singh and Smt. Sumitra Mahajan.
Mr. Modi has displayed least patience for the parliamentary traditions and often remained silent on the key issues concerning the nation and blamed opposition for non-functioing of the Parliament. Matters concerning the lives of millions of the farmers in this country can’t and shouldn’t be decided by mere Ordinance. These are matters of grave importance and need thorough debate and discussion in this democracy. BJP when in opposition had opposed the Ordinances for law making and now they are doing exactly that, how shameful!
Section 105, Consent and SIA Clause
The government is claiming that the decision is not anti farmer since they are not touching the monetray compensation, but the issue was not only compensation. A piece of land has an interest from many sections workers, share croppers – other than the land owners and they all get affected by any acquisition. So, the changes in the consent clause for acquisition of the PPP and Private projects will impact everyone and not only the land owners. The explanation that an Ordinance became necessary to deal with matters arising out of the Section 105 of the Act is completely false. We believe, it is not only misleading but again obfuscating what the Act mandates. As per the Act, the government was to bring a Notification in the Parliament in year 2014 to extend the provisions of the compensation and R&R to the people affected by land acquisition carried through the 13 central acts, as mentioned in Fourth Schedule.
The dilution of the need for the consent and conducting of the Social Impact Assessment for all the projects is completely uncalled for and will only make matters worse. These two provisions are central to addressing the issue of ‘forced land acquisition’ and ‘resulting impoverishment” to the communities.
Section 24, Retrospective Application of the new Act
Even as we wait for the full details of the Ordinance, we would like to say that the 2013 Act provided relief to so many farmers where land was forcibly acquired or land was not utilised or adequate compensation not paid. The Ordinance is changing that which is completely anti farmer. We all know that there are nearly 10 Crore people displaced by various projects since independence and this government rather than providing any relief is only concerned about the needs of the industry.
We Will Oppose its Passage in the Parliament
It remains a fact that intense struggles are going on in various states across the country around the issues related to land acquisition, displacement, development plans and projects. The farmers, fishworkers, labourers, artisans, facing uprootment from not just their socio-cultural environs but also livelihoods, are compelled to get united and raise their voices against unjust displacement pushed by Modi Sarkaar. The resistance will only become much more vocal now. People’s movements from across the country oppose this Ordinance and will organise demonstrations across the country this week and will ensure that resolutions are passed in the Gram Sabhas on the Republic Day that no forcible land acquisition will be allowed by the government for profit and private corporations.
Medha Patkar, Yogini Khanolkar, Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi
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