Himachal’s Unjustified Land Policy
Himachal This Week Team (cover story)
Land acquisition for implementing developmental schemes is being done in accordance with the Union Land Acquisition Act in Himachal. The act states that state governments will provide compensation amount as per circle rates. Himachal is giving two times the compensation of circle rates though there has been increasing demand to enhance compensation amount and there have been agitations also over the issue. Deputy Commissioners have been empowered to decide circle rates in different areas. They also decide rates about different types of lands. The government has also appointed Land Acquisition Officers for acquiring land for government schemes and to provide twice the compensation amount of the circle rate. Himachal follows centre’s Right to Fair Compensation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. An amendment was made last year that empowers state government to enhance compensation amount but Land Acquisition Officer will have to list special circumstances. Separate provisions have been kept for persons rendered landless after acquisition. A special package has to be formulated that contains provision of granting land at some other place, compensation amount and rehabilitation in case the land is acquired for power projects with provisions of employment, free electricity etc.
* Follows Central Act
* DC decides circle rates
* Govt can enhance compensation amount
* Himachal has framed a policy under central Act. There is a provision of providing two times compensation of the circle rate decided by Deputy Commissioners
-Rakesh Mehta, Deputy Secretary, Revenue
* Agitations at many places as land acquisition is underway for road projects due to difference in compensation amount in state and centre policies
* Government yet to take a decision in the midst of mounting pressure for enhancing compensation amount
-by Shakeel Quereshi, Shimla
The Land Acquisition Act 1894 has been replaced by the new land law “The Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013”.
Firstly, there is a total and blatant violations of all the provisions of new law (RTFCTLARR ACT 2013) by the State Government in connivance with the national highway authorities and both are in a tearing hurry to rush the acquisition bypassing mandatory and statutory provisions on the subject. The determination of compensation and its related procedure are being carried out as per NH Act 1956 and not as per the new land law 2013 which is a grave violation. The state arbitrarily has reduced the market value multiplication factor to one whereas there was no such discretion provided in the law. The multiplication factor applicable for national highways being the Centre Government project in rural areas is two as notified by the Rural Ministry on 9 Feb 2016. Secondly, the District Collectors have not updated, revised and determined the prevalent market value till date and the LAO Pandoh has already awarded land compensation in Kullu District on flawed circle rates meant for calculation of stamp duty and on factor one. This is a great injustice to affected people. Thirdly, the state has not initiated any action for social impact assessment (SIA) and Rehabilitation and Resettlement benefits as entitled to the affected people including the vulnerable sections of the society. This was integral, mandatory and time bound requirement and can not be ignored by the state. Fourthly, The compensation award too is being split separately for land/ structures/assets/fruit plants/R&R contrary to the new law 2013.
It does not behove of a Congress Government in the state to nullify the entitlements of the land act 2013, enacted by their own UPA Government at the Centre to its farmers and affected people in rural area, knowledgeable persons feel. They add rigidness of the state is not understood when the entire expenditure of compensation would be borne by the Centre and even the state would stand to benefit by getting its departmental charges to the tune of 9% of the total payment amount.
*The State will only give market value multiplication factor as one and increased land price as per circle rates or on negotiated amount. The state can not implement factor two because then it will have to give the same compensation for land acquisition made in future by them
-Kaul Singh Thakur, Revenue Minister
As per new land act 2013, there is a comprehensive compensation and R&R package for affected people as well as a scientific methodology for calculation of the market value of land, assets and arriving at a total compensation and it is mandatory for the Centre, State, NHAI, District and land acquisition authorities in consultation with affected persons to comply with these provisions in time bound manner. Besides, R&R has also been made integral and mandatory not only for land owners, livelihood looser but also for non -entitled holders but unfortunately till date no institutional mechanism exists at Centre and State level for the implementation of new land law, claimed office bearers of the samiti.
*Agitation was not against the land acquisition for national highways, it is about fairness and justice to those who are asked to sacrifice for “public good”. Market value of land is based on the subdued and flawed circle rates meant for calculation of stamp duty which is highly unfair.
-Brigadier Khushal Thakur, (Retd.), President, Fourlane Sangharsh Samiti
*My newly built house, shop and land is being acquired. I am earning approximately Rs. 1 lakh rupees per month from my shop whereas I would be getting approximately Rs. 80,000/- as total compensation. Is it fair justice to me?
-Bhagat Ram, A Shopkeeper, Aut, Mandi
*The present per biswa circle rates of Kangti muhal has also not been revised since 2013 by the District Collector. We will not accept the inadequate compensation and will lay down our lives but will not allow taking over of possession of our land by the government.
-Dinesh Sen, Bashang, Kullu
*Our house and land is being acquired by the NHAI. Till now I have no knowledge regarding the compensation we would be paid for our land and house. Even the boundaries have not been demarcated and marked on ground. There is a complete violation of new land act 2013 and there is no transparency.
-Seema Kapoor, 17 Mile ,Kullu