Saturday, April 21, 2012

Land acquisition fraud continues in Odisha.

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Please find below a news which proves how private land is being acquired in this state, illegally, in the name of 'public purpose' for 'private companies'.  The ruling of the Odisha High Court, that exposes this, is very important and we are sure this would have wide scale implication as such faulty land acquisition is a matter of common happening in the state. 

We hope the Govt. of Odisha will learn a lesson from this and provide justice to all the people in the state whose lands have been acquired under similar faulty procedures.

Thanks and regards,


Odisha to withdraw notification from acquisition of 438 acres of private land in Posco site

The state government has initiated the process of withdrawal of notifications for acquisition of 438 acres of private land in seven villages in the project site near Paradip. The recent verdict of Odisha High Court would compel the state government to withdraw the notification from the acquisition of 438 acres of private land of proposed Posco steel plant.

Sources said that state government had issued the impugned notifications under section 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 to acquire the lands in favour of the Posco steel plant. The acquisition process had been started by IDCO (Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation), a statuary corporation to acquire land in favour of Posco, a company registered under the Companies Act 1956.

The corporation made requisition to the district collector, Jagatsinghpur to acquire the land for Posco steel plant in 2005. Accordingly, section 4 notifications were issued for the public purpose in favour of the Posco Company to set up its steel plant in the acquired land. Later administration issued notifications under section 6 (1) of LA Act in 7th Janauary’2008 for acquisition of land for public purposes for establishment of plant. The above notifications show that the land is being acquired for a public purpose and not for a private company.

Similarly, administration has been passed notification under section 6 of LA Act to give awards and payment of compensation to the land losers of these seven villages of three panchyats, Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadkujanga.  As per this process, one revenue officer has expressed that compensation of Rs 1.43 cores has been disbursed for acquisition of eight acres of private land in proposed Posco area at the rate of Rs 17 lakh per acre.

Challenging it as illegal process of land acquisition, six land losers led by Nisakar Khatua of Gobindpur village having lands in Dhinkia, Gobindpur, Bhuiyanpal,Polanga, Bayanalkanda, Noliashai, and Nuagaon had filed writ petition against principal secretary, department of revenue and disaster management, and four others in Odisha High Court for praying to stop illegal and forcibly land acquisition and to maintain status co to check the illegal activities.
Mr. V. Gopala Gowda, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court in his recent verdict has stated that the acquisition of land in the name of Posco company though corporation is not permissible in law as the acquisition of land is in favour of private company. Exercising the power by the state government waiving the statuary right under section 5 (A) of LA Act is bad in law and issue of notifications for land acquisition without there being an order of the state government is a gross and violation of Fundamental and Statuary Rights guaranteed to land owners under articles 14, 19 and 21 Constitutional Right.
It is also stated that corporation is not competent to acquire the lands exclusively for any particular company and could only under certain circumstances , acquire land for an ‘ industrial estate’ or an ‘ industrial area’ as defined Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Act 1980.

High Court has also observed that the impugned notifications under section 6 were published beyond one year from the date of publication of notification under section 4 (1) in respect of the land covering these villages. Similarly, section 9 was issued and served upon the land owners before passing awards by determining the market value of their acquired land and that awards have been passed beyond the period of two years.

High Court has realized that there is large number irregularities in land acquisition for private company and violation of fundamental rights of land owners so High Court directed that status co recently in respect of the private lands in these villages to be maintained till disposal of this writ petition.

Additional district magistrate, Paradip Mr. Surjeet Das has expressed ‘administration is waiting the directive of the state government to de-notify on all 438 acres of private lands for proposed Posco plant. As per section 48 of LA Act, government has liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of these lands of which possession has not been taken’- he added.

Report from Amarnath Parida: Orissa Diary, Saturday April 21, 2012

Ranjan K Panda

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

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Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

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