More than a thousand people representing people’s movements from over 15 states gathered at Jantar Mantar on the 23rd of July 2009, to protest against the Land Acquisition (Amendment) and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bills in their current form.
The gathering consisted of peoples from several organizations resisting failed development policies of the last 60 years that have not consulted people and recognized their right to land, forest and water. Eminent persons such as Kuldip Nayyar, Surendra Mohan, Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Sandeep Pandey, Manoranjan Mohanty, K.B. Saxena, Ramaswami Iyer, and others- strongly supported the people’s demand for inclusive development. Kuldip Nayyar stressed that no land will be given in the present scenario of forced land acquisition, without the guarantee of land- based rehabilitation.
“The act should principally consider the rights of the people owning the land”, said Ashok Chowdhary of the National Forum for Forest Peoples and Forest Workers. Representatives from peoples movements present included Medha Patkar, Gautam Bandhopadhyay (Chattisgarh), Dr. Sunilam (M.P.), Shaktiman Ghosh (National Hawkers Federation, West Bengal), Rajendran (Kakinada, A.P.) and many others.
The demonstration began with a lighting of a symbolic torch by Surendra Mohan- veteran socialist leader- accompanied by vociferous chants against the two bills, which fail to address the long standing concerns of the communities displaced by the large development projects throughout the country. Surendra Mohan insisted that “without people’s consultation, no Rehabilitation and Resettlement policy will be entertained.”
The Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill was introduced by the UPA government in the last session of their previous tenure; however, while it was passed in the Lok Sabha, it could not go through a vote in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill clearly endorses the view that ‘private’ purpose, implying corporate and private commercial interests, is synonymous with ‘public’ purpose. The Bill in its current form negates the process of consultation that began with the National Advisory Council (NAC) and people’s movements, where a comprehensive Development Policy was drafted, keeping in mind concerns of the people.
During the day three delegations of the participants met with the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabhas, Ms. Meira Kumar, Shri Kantilal Bhuria, Minister of Tribal Affairs and Minister of Rural Development, Shri C.P. Joshi and the presented our position and demands.
The Four Major Demands of Peoples Movements are:
– Abolish the Land Acquisition Act of British Legacy
– Issue a White paper on Land Acquisition, Displacement and Rehabilitation for the last 60 years.
– Shelve the two Bills and hold a national consultation on the NAC approved draft along with the displaced people and the people’s organizations.
– Institute a Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee for the discussion on the two Acts.
Medha Patkar Gautam Bandopadhyay Shaktiman Ghosh
NAPM Nadi Ghati Morcha National Hawkers Federation
Ashok Chowdhury & Pushpa Bhupendra Rawat Suniti S R
NFFPFW Jan Sangharsh Vahini Visthapan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti
Rajendra Ravi Simpreet Singh Dayamani Barla P Chennaiah
NAPM, Delhi Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan INSAF APVVU
Gabriele Geeta / Ramakrishnan Venkatesh Sandhya Devi
NMPS NAPM, Karnatak Kalahandi Mahila Samiti
Anand Mazgaonkar Ulka Mahajan Vimalbhai
Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti SEZ-Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti MATU
Contact: Rohan (09953078167)