Land acquisition process lacks transparency, say farmers
A delegation of farmers and other people affected by the four-laning of the Nerchowk-Manali stretch of the National Highway-21 met Cooperation and Ayurveda Minister Karan Singh and submitted a memorandum of their demands to him.
The delegation headed by Brig (retd) Khushal Thakur, president, Four-lane Sangharsh Samiti, said the minister had promised to take up their issues with the Chief Minister.
He said the land acquisition process lacked transparency and the affected people were not aware of the amount of the compensation they would get.
He said the land evaluation process between Kullu and Manali had been started and the government could start disbursing the compensation from November this year.
He said the state government should implement the new land Act that provides four times compensation of the market value of the land and set up rehabilitation and resettlement mechanism. The compensation should be determined on the basis of prevalent market value of the land and not the circle rates, he said.
“Circle rates are kept deliberately low to minimise stamp duty and therefore, the difference between circle rate and prevalent market rate is usually vast,” he said.
A notification issued on April 1, 2015, by the state government had reduced the compensation for land acquisition to 50% by fixing the multiplication factor as one 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, he said.
Contrary to the provisions of the new land Act, 2013, the state government had adopted the lowest standard of compensation for the 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. Moreover, the entire cost of compensation would be borne by the Central government and there would be no financial burden on the state government, he added.
The farmers should also be consulted before fixing the market value of their land, he said.
Other members of the delegation include samiti’s general secretary Brijesh Mahant, Kullu block president Vinod Mahant and Manali block president Mohinder Thakur.