Demanding Repeal of Land Acquisition Act and Enactment of National Development Planning Act
Thousands to Attend Sangharsh Dharna from Aug 3-5 in Delhi
New Delhi, August 2, 2011: In the wake of the new draft of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement slated for debate in the ongoing session of the Parliament, thousands of people from at least 15 states, affected due to the archaic Land Acquisition Act 1894 (LAA) is reaching Delhi tomorrow (Aug 3), demanding immediate repeal of LAA and replacement of it with a comprehensive National Development Planning Act.
“We welcome reopening the whole process and focus on the pre-legislative consultations. However one needs to keep in mind that the proposed draft is not a comprehensive draft but merely a combination of the earlier proposed two bills on land acquisition and rehabilitation, and fails to take in account the concerns raised by the millions of project affected people” Medha Patkar said.
Movements who have been opposing LAA have also been for long demanding community control over natural resources and the right to livelihood – some of it achieved under comparatively progressive legislations like the PESA Act, 1996 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Unfortunately, these very legislations are today under threat of being not implemented or worse misused for distributing land titles to some.
“People are coming together in Delhi at a very crucial juncture. The poor from the cities who face eviction on a daily basis and whose livelihood is under threat, and those who are threatened by various developmental activities in the coastal states and the peasants whose land is constantly being grabbed for developmental activities would come and raise their issues. The question of establishing land rights of the marginal farmers, landless workers and peasants and their control over the natural resources, should be the focus of any new legislation dealing with the questions of land for development” Ashok Chaudhary, of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, said.
Other than the general focus on Land Acquisition Act repeal and replacement with a comprehensive legislation, 3-day dharna (Aug 3-5) under the banner of Sangharsh would also address specific issues around: Dams (in Narmada Valley, North East India, Himachal and Central India), Thermal & Nuclear Power projects, Urban displacement, Forest Rights and Community Governance, struggles against Corporations (POSCO, Jaypee, Adanis, Tata, Coca Cola, Vedanta, Mittal, Reliance, Jindal, etc), and protecting livelihood rights of rural and urban communities in the form of statutory government entitlements such as demanding a universal PDS and adequate beneficial rights to BPL members and oppose any move at introducing cash transfers.
Representatives of people’s movements would meet with the Ministers / senior officials of the Ministries to discuss in detail their issues. People would meet Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment and Forests, Urban Development, Commerce and Industry, Social Justice and Empowerment and Planning Commission.
Key organizations attending the 3-day dharna would be national networks likeNational Alliance of People’s Movements, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, National Hawkers Federation, National Domestic Workers Union, SEZ Virodhi Manch and Jan Sangharsh Samanvaya Samiti, organizations like Narmada Bachao Andolan – Madhya Pradesh, PennurumaiIyakkam – Tamilnadu, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti – Assam, Nadi Ghati Morcha – Chattisgarh, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – Mumbai, Aadivasi Mul Nivasi Astitva Raksha Manch – Maharashtra, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Matu Jan Saghatan – Uttarakhand, Machchi Maar Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti – Gujarat, Renuka Dam Sangharsh Samiti – Himachal Pradesh, Birsa Munda Bhu Adhikar Manch – Jharkhand, Posco Prathirodh Sangram Samiti – Odisha and others.
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