Tribune News Service
Mandi, September 15
Farmers and other people affected by four-laning of the Nerchowk to Manali stretch of the National Highway-21 have sought clarification on the amount of compensation.
In a statement issued here today, Four-lane Sangharsh Samiti president Brigadier Khushal Thakur (retd) said the affected people of Mandi and Kullu districts were not against the land acquisition, but they demand fairness and justice in the process.
Presiding over a review meeting of the four-laned projects in the state in Shimla yesterday, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had stated that all land acquisition awards of four-laned projects in Kullu district would be given by November.
Before awarding the compensation, the state government must clear its stand on amount of compensation to be paid to the affected people, he said.
He said the state government should implement the new land Act in its letter and spirit and provide compensation four times the market value of land and set up rehabilitation and resettlement mechanism otherwise the people would have no option but to fight for their rights and hit the streets.
The compensation should be determined on the basis of prevalent market value of the land and not the circle rates, he said.
“It is no secret that the circle rates are kept deliberately low to minimise stamp duty and therefore, the difference between the circle rate and the prevalent market rate is usually vast,” he added.
He said the state government had issued a notification on April 1, 2015, that it had reduced the compensation for compulsory land acquisition to 50 per cent by fixing the multiplication factor as one of the purpose by which the market value of land was to be multiplied in case of rural areas under the new Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, passed by the UPA government in 2013.
Contrary to the provisions of the new land Act, 2013, the state government had adopted the lowest standard of compensation for acquisition of land for the national highway in the state, he added.
“Many states have already increased the multiplication factor to more than two and it is not understood as to why the state government is adamant and pursuing anti-farmer policies,” he said.
Besides, the entire cost of the land acquisition compensation would be borne by the Central government and the state would have no financial burden to bear. Therefore, the notification issued on April 1 was unconstitutional and the action of the state government was absolutely anti-farmer, he alleged.
The district collectors were required to revise and update the market value of the land on basis of the prevalent market rate before initiation of any land acquisition proceedings, but the same had not been done despite repeated representations, he said.
“The affected persons are keen to know the market value fixed for their land so that they could make alternative arrangements from the compensation they will get, but no such information has been provided,” he said.
The farmers should also be consulted before fixing the market value of their land, he added.
The rehabilitation and resettlement component had been introduced after 67 years of Independence with the sole object to ensure adequacy of compensation to the affected people, he said.
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