Maharashtra takes U turn; amends rehabilitation law
THE Maharashtra government has gone back on its promise to give developed land to farmers who cede land for infrastructure and industrial projects. In December¤ the state amended the law that provided farmers developed land in lieu of land acquired from them.
The Maharashtra Project Affected Persons’ Rehabilitation Act¤ 2009 had a clause that said 12.5 per cent land developed for a project should be given to the farmers from whom the project land is acquired. The amendment¤ passed during the winter session of the Assembly¤ has done away with this clause. Farmers who will be displaced by the Mihan sez in Nagpur would have been the first to get developed land under the law if it had not been amended (see ‘Compensation for Mihan farmers’¤ Down To Earth¤ October 31¤ 2009). The farmers who have refused to vacate their land are upset over the latest development. “The amendment was introduced in a clandestine manner and amounts to cheating on part of the government¤” said Baba Dawre¤ resident of Shivgaon and leader of Cargo Prakalpagrast Samiti that has been campaigning for farmers’ right to developed land for the past several years. He said the amendment was cleared with such speed that the farmers did not get to know about it till the deed was done.
The amendment was made because cost of developed land has risen steeply. Project affected persons will now be given alternative land¤ the state information department said in a press release dated December 9¤ 2009.
This is the second amendment in the Act in the past four months. In August 2009¤ an amendment was made to dilute the clause relating to giving developed land to farmers by adding the options of cash compensation or equivalent transferable development rights for property development.
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