Land law: RSS affiliates up in arms against Modi government

Swadeshi Jagran Manch says repromulgated land ordinance contains several “detestable and unacceptable sections”.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:59 pm IST

Published - June 21, 2015 05:22 pm IST - New Delhi

As the Narendra Modi government struggles to get the land bill passed, key RSS affiliates have slammed as “detestable and unacceptable” several provisions in the ordinance brought by it replacing the Land Acquisition Law passed by the previous UPA dispensation.

They have pitched against the proposed legislation of the NDA government in its present form and insisted on incorporation of the consent clause and social impact assessment in the new law.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an RSS outfit, has also demanded that change of land use not be allowed and land not developed for five years be returned to the original owners.

Another RSS affiliate, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, has called for consent of at least 51 per cent of farmers being taken before land is required.

In its written submission to the Joint Committee of Parliament looking into the bill, the SJM has said the 2014 Land Ordinance replaced the 2013 Act “in undue hurry” and the re-promulgated ordinance contains several “detestable and unacceptable” sections even after incorporation of several amendments.

Joining forces with opposition parties, the Manch said, “SJM is of the considered view that the LAAR Act 2013 passed by the Parliament unanimously was replaced by LAAR (Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement) (Amendment) ordinance 2014 in undue hurry.

“Re-promulgated LAAR (Amendment) ordinance issued on April 3, 2015 contains several detestable and unacceptable sections, even after incorporation of several amendments that have been included in 2015 ordinance under intense public pressure,” Manch’s national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said in the outfit’s submission before the panel.

The Manch said as per internationally established practice, a project could be undertaken only after making social and environmental impact assessment, something which is followed by World Bank even for roads built by its funding.

“Why the same should not be followed by Government of India in construction of Public-Private Partnership infrastructure projects?

“This well-established practice has been violated in the new ordinance, which is against natural justice for those affected by proposed land acquisition,” Mr. Mahajan said.

The Manch said, “Swadeshi Jagran Manch demands from the government that — Consent of farmers ensured before land acquisition on any kind. Have a comprehensive assessment about need, social and environmental impact of the land acquisition before actual acquisition.”

The SJM also said, “Land use change (from the purpose for which land has been acquired) must not be allowed, and in case the beneficiary of land acquisition fails to use the land within specified period, land be returned to the original owners, without applying any conditions.”

The Manch also demanded that the clause providing for return of land to original owner after expiry of five years has been “diluted” and “This amendment needs to be deleted or suitably amended to ensure return of land if the project for which the land is acquired, does not initiate, as per the scheduled time.”

In its written submission to the panel, the BKS too has said that farmers’ interests have been ignored by doing away with the provisions of social impact assessment and the clause relating to returning unutilised land.

Prabhakar Kelkar, BKS general secretary, said the consent of a minimum of 51 per cent of farmers must be obtained before acquiring land.

SJM’s Mr. Mahajan said land being a scarce resource, the government should come out with a comprehensive Land Use Policy under which ceiling be fixed for its use for agriculture, forests, industry roads etc.

The Manch also demanded issue of a white paper about land acquisition by the governments since 1947 stating its present status, unused land lying with government and also with big industries.

“Agricultural and forest land should not be allowed to be acquired for any other purpose, in the interest of food security of the nation.

“Government should not own the responsibility to acquire land for the needs of private industries,” it further said.

In another representation, Santosh Golechha, a VHP office-bearer in Chhattisgarh, flagged the concerns about amending section 24 (2)of the Act.

He demanded that in case of section 24 (2) coming into force, the maximum market price of the acquired land on January 2015 should be applicable in all pending cases under the old Act.

Here are the six important facts you need to know about the Land Bill. Source:

1 The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 seeks to Amend the Act of 2013 (LARR Act, 2013).
2 The Bill creates five special categories of land use: 1. defence, 2. rural infrastructure, 3. affordable housing, 4. industrial corridors, and 5. infrastructure projects including Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects where the central government owns the land
3 The Bill exempts the five categories from provisions of the LARR Act, 2013 which requires the consent of 80 per cent of land ownersto be obtained for private projects and that of 70 per cent of land owners for PPP projects.
4 The Bill allows exemption for projects in these five categories from requiring Social Impact Assessment be done to identify those affected and from the restrictions on the acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land imposed by LARR Act 2013.
5 The Bill brings provisions for compensation, rehabilitation, and resettlement under other related Acts such as the National Highways Act and the Railways Act in consonance with the LARR Act.
6 The Bill changes acquisition of land for private companies mentioned in LARR Act, 2013 to acquisition for ‘private entities’. A private entity could include companies, corporations and nonprofit organisations.

What does the Ordinance mean ?

For Industries

For Farmers

Ordinance envisages projects in defence, rural housing and industrial corridors as exempt from seeking 80% approval from affected persons.

Farmers' compensation will remain the same — four times the market rate for urban areas, and twice for rural areas.

Private hospitals, educational institutions and hotels will be included under definition of public purpose, and exempt from SIA.

13 statutes that were previously exempted from the rigours of compensation have now been included.

The Ordinance aims to make land acquisition easier for industries, as delays in approvals have restricted growth in industry and infrastructure, according to stakeholders.

Multi-crop land can be acquired for five purposes without consent of affected families: national security, defence, rural infrastructure, industrial corridors and social infrastructure

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