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Omar fails to introduce New Land Acquisition Bill
Session coming to end, Congress a mute spectator
2/24/2014 11:14:41 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Feb 24: The new Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR) is enforced across all the states of country except Jammu and Kashmir from January 1, 2014. This law was made operational through a Presidential assent. Under the Article 370 no Central law finds its automatic extension into the State Jammu and Kashmir unless the J&K legislature ratifies the same or enacts a similar law. The ongoing session of State legislature began here from February 10th and would come to an end within some days on Feb 28 but till date nothing has been heard about proposed enactment of New J&K Land Acquisition Act in the state. Press, civil society and people in general are not aware whether the draft bill has been prepared by the Revenue department or not, and this shows the callous and lethargic attitude of the present coalition Government towards the people of this state. This law has a great importance especially in Jammu and Kashmir as thousands of acres of land has been acquired by Government at many places in the state. The Congress party which is part of the coalition Government in State is also mum over the issue.
The discussions on Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement bill (LARR Bill) has been going on since 2011 and the draft of this bill was made public few years back for an open debate. The idea of enacting new Land Acquisition Act by UPA Government was mooted after the Singur agitation in West Bengal which took place some years back and the locals of that area had opposed the establishment of a mega car manufacturing project by TATA Motors, as the local villagers were being paid very less compensation for their acquired land and the said land acquisition was being made forcibly as well. The West Bengal Government finally had to cancel the land acquisition in Singur and the TATA's established the said car manufacturing plant in Gujarat.
"Land measuring thousands of kanals has already been acquired by the Government for six lanning of Jammu- Srinagar national highway and the work is under progress now , but the compensation being paid to the effected families amounts only to the market value of land and property. Similarly the land has been acquired by National Highway Authorities of India between Jammu and Udhampur and also by NHPC in Bandipora and Gurez for construction of a Hydro Electric Project and at many places the BEACON authorities too have acquired the land in Ganderbal and Kangan areas for road widening. Had J&K Government passed new Land Acquisition Act in J&K State all such effected families right from Lakhanpur to Baramulla, Ganderbal to Sonamarg or in Bandipura and Gurez would have been paid four times more than what they have been paid by the respective companies or organisations. In addition to it many families would have been rehabilitated and resettled as well. This clearly indicates that in absence of a new Land Acquisition law in J&K, common people are the direct sufferers," says RTI & Social activist Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat.
Under the new Land Acquisition Act property and land which is acquired in urban areas would be paid compensation double the market value of the said land / property etc. and in rural areas where the property rates are comparatively less the compensation would be paid four times more than the exact market rate of the land / property. There are several areas in Jammu as well as in Srinagar's old city where many residential houses / shops have been dismantled recently for a road widening project. If a family in Srinagar city was paid Rs 10 lakhs as compensation for the dismantled house or shop during road widening, but if we had a new Land Acquisition Act in J&K the same family would get Rs 20 lakhs plus job and land to construct a house as well. The new Land Acquisition law does not only guarantees highly monetary compensation but it guarantees for Rehabilitation and Resettlement as well. The compensation under new Land Acquisition Act is to be paid retrospectively under this act (from 2011). But all is not going to be a reality in our State as we don't have such a law in operation.
"Since the State legislature session began in Jammu a lot of fuss over petty issues took place in J&K Legislative Assembly but the MLA's who claim to be representatives of the people of this State have miserably failed to even question the Government why it failed to bring the new Land bill in the State legislature . Even not a single MLA or MLC even from Congress party in J&K raised this issue in State Assembly / council and on the other the Congress party in Delhi highlights the achievements of the UPA Government and among such achievements they lay a special emphasis on new Land Acquisition Act . It seems that the Congress MLA's and MLC's in J&K are not familiar with the programmes and achievements of their own party," said Shahab-ul-Haque a social activist from Doda.
"It has been observed from the last many months that Omar Abdullah is implementing all those programmes for which he is not accountable. The creation of new administrative units was not part of its 2008 election manifesto but Government created the said units. Similarly Congress introduced land bill across India but its State unit is mum over the issue. The dozen of promises which National Conference had made with the people of Jammu and Kashmir haven't been fulfilled till date," said Dr Mushtaq Khan a renowned RTI Activist from Srinagar.
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