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AP Congress appeals to Prez against assent to amendment of Land Acquisition Act

AP Congress appeals to Prez against assent to amendment of Land Acquisition Act
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Highlights

APCC leadership appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee, here on Wednesday, not to give assent to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 2017 passed by the AP Legislative Assembly on March 28.

New Delhi: APCC leadership appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee, here on Wednesday, not to give assent to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 2017 passed by the AP Legislative Assembly on March 28.

In a memorandum, APCC president N Raghuveera Reddy, MPs Dr KVP Ramachandra Rao and T Subbirami Reddy, party in-charge for AP affairs, Digvijay Singh and former MP JD Seelam, pointed out that the state government had enacted amendments to the ‘Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’, which were in gross violation of the principal Act.

“The sole purpose behind the present amendment sought to be made was to make land acquisition easier for the state authorities, while curtailing the rights given to the people by the landmark law. The state government had created a broad special category of projects for which land could be acquired without following any of the safeguards given under the new law,” they stated.

The amendments allowed the state government to indiscriminately acquire land, without providing rehabilitation and resettlement. They also paved the way for coercion / forcible acquisition, while paying a token lump sum amount in lieu of rehabilitation and resettlement.

They could also invoke the urgency clause for any type of acquisition of land and avoid carrying out the social impact assessment process, which was required to determine, if there was indeed a public purpose to justify the acquisition.

The amendments abandon the process of social impact assessment and preparation of social impact management plan. The Assessment was the heart and soul of the Law enacted in 2013. It ensured a distinction was made between projects where the public purpose was genuine and the public good probably outweighed the loss to the affected families.

The amendments abandoned the necessity for obtaining consent in case of acquisition of lands for private companies for public purpose which, in other words meant that the amendment would take away the rights conferred by the original Act to the land owner to say 'no' to the acquisition for private companies.

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