Thousands gather in Delhi for three days (21-23 August) in Jan Morcha against land grab and the anti-people ‘Right to Fair Compensation, R&R Bill 2012’
August 21, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi – “The UPA Government is trying to fool both the parliament and the people of India, by bringing on the “Right to fair compensation, R&R and transparency in Land Acquisition Bill, 2012”, stated Dr. Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh. Dr. Sunilam was speaking at the opening of the three day Jan Morcha in Delhi, organised by Sangharsh collective, against land grab, corporate exploitation and corruption.
“The government not only has betrayed the Aam Admi’s will, but also has effectively rejected the consultations and recommendations of the two Parliamentary Standing Committees on the subject”, added Roma of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW, Kaimur region, UP).
The public meeting and dharna organised at Jantar Mantar on the occasion of the Monsoon session of the Parliament challenged the government to try and pass the Bill in the current form. “The bill will face the same fate as that of the LAA Amendments Bill that UPA-1 tried to pass in Rajya Sabha in 2009”, remarked Madhuresh Kumar, National Organiser of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM). “The Ministry of Rural Development is ridiculing the lives and struggles of people of this country whose fight has been to protect their precious land and resources and not for ‘better compensation’, he added.
Martyrs from several anti-displacement struggles, from Assam to Gujarat and Punjab to Muthanga, in Kerala were remembered by the Jan Morcha. At the event at Jantar Mantar, tombstones were erected with the names of valiant fighters who lost their lives to the brutal violence of the state police or corporate goons. Families of some of the Martyrs were present at the Dharna at Sansad Marg. “We demand that the government has to first declare about the land already acquired, used and the fate of those who lost their livelihood. There can be no talk about new land acquisitions unless we talk of the historical injustices” (poorana hisaf saaf karo phir naye kee baat karo), added Shanta Bhattacharya, of Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Morcha.
The new draft bill, in its current form has gone against many reccommendations of people’s movements as well as the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC). Some of the key issues raised by the dharna are as following:
- The centralised planning process for development projects must give way to participatory and consent based planning, whereby the Gram Sabhas and Basti Sabhas should have the primary say in deciding what kind of development is required for the area and what constitutes public purpose
- The current bill legitimises land acquisition of most kinds and by anyone even for private profit, and is only trying to play with language of transparency and fair compensation
- Agricultural lands of all kinds need to be excluded from acquisition. It is not a question of multi-crop or single-crop, nor is it an issue of amount of compensation
- The government should not use the ‘principle of eminent domain’ and land acquisition powers to acquire land for Private projects of all kinds and Public Private Partnership projects (PPP)
- All the 16 central acts, as suggested by the PSC, should be brought under the purview of the new comprehensive legislation
- The present Bill is strictly a rural displacement related bill, since it completely overlooks the millions of urban working people impacted by urban projects and displacement. This needs to be urgently rectified before the Bill is placed in Parliament.
“It needs to be noted that nearly 100 million people have been displaced since independence and with a dismal 17-20 percent rate of rehabilitation, we had suggested that not only the retrospective application of the provisions of the new act but a National Resettlement & Rehabilitation Commission be established to deal with the claims of the projected affected people from various projects, stated Vimalbhai of MATU Jan Sanghattan, Uttarakhand.
The leaders and representatives of mass organisations who spoke at the Janmorcha included: Shanta Bhatacharjee (NFFPFW, UP), Jagdish Purohit, (Mansi Vakal Band Vistapith Sangarsh Samithi, Rajasthan), Mansaram Bhai (Narmada Bachao Andolan), Kalu Bhai (Chittorgarh, KKMS, Rajasthan), Bhupendra Singh Rawat (Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Delhi & NCR), Aradhana Bhargava (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, MP), Vijay Sharma, National Hawkers’ Federation, Kolkatta), Devjit Dutt (NAPM, West Bengal), Ganesh (Mansiwakad Dam, Rajasthan), Ranjan Singh (Sita Marhi, Bihar), Ghasi Bhai (Adivasi Kranti Sangattan, Odisha), Rajnish Gambhir (NFFPFW, Khiri, UP), Hansraj Pradhan (Fatehabad anti-nuclear struggle, Haryana), Maharaja Sangram Singh (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & NAPM), Mangu Singh (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti), Raj Singh Dawas (Bhoomi Bachao Andolan), Rajpal Sewali (Sonipat), Babu Singh Patel (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, UP), Mohan (Odisha Chas Parivesh Suraksha Parishad) and many Delhi based intellectuals and supporters.
Vijoo Krishnan of All India Kisan Sabha spoke at the gathering in support of demand for a comprehensive bill. The Janmorcha also witnessed a powerful cultural performance by the Delhi based theatre group, Asmita.
For details contact Sangharsh Media team:
Sanjeev – 99958797409 | Shweta – 9911528696 |Vijayan – 9582862682