HRPF to file case against MRPL, MSEZ

HRPF to file case against MRPL, MSEZ

Dr Ravindranath Shanbhog releases the report.

Chandrahasa, an ex-defence personnel, has been seeking rehabilitation benefits after his 80 cents agricultural land was acquired for Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) in March 2008.

His letters seeking redressal of his grievance, submitted to deputy commissioner, who is also the chairman of District Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) Committee, chief minister, defence minister and the prime minister’s office (PMO) has not received any response so far. As a last resort, Chandrahasa approached Udupi-based Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF).

“After a few days, one Vedavathi Anchan from Thokur and one Nalin Kotian approached HRPF with similar complaints upon being denied R&R facilities. The list of such displaced farmers denied compensation for losing land has been growing. Our investigative report reveals that the scam worth more than Rs 30 crore has caused miseries to thousands of displaced farmers,’’ HRPF President Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag said.

Shanbhag, addressing a gathering, after a displaced farmer Mallappa Gowda from Kudubi community released the investigative report at CBOO Hall in Kodialbail, said a case will be filed against MRPL and MSEZ for violating National Policy for Rehabilitation and Resettlement 2007 and committing other illegal activities.

He said the complaints from displaced farmers, submitted to the deputy commissioner’s office, were forwarded to officials in MSEZ. “HRPF’s investigation revealed that MSEZ officers used to reject the complaints on the grounds that there were no rehabilitation benefits for an agricultural land loser. Ironically, all eight deputy commissioners without further enquiry have accepted the feedback,” he said.

“Both MRPL and MSEZ have not done a social-impact assessment (SIA) and their websites do not make any mention of R&R action plan which is mandatory before evicting farmers from their land. Mangalore SEZ Vice President Surya Narayanan, in a letter, had disclosed the truth that SIA was not carried out. In fact, only 11 out of 44 queries under RTI were answered by authorities,’’ he said.

To another query on how many families were displaced due to MRPL III phase project, MRPL had directed HRPF to obtain information from MSEZ. Shanbhag is thus surprised on how MRPL and MSEZ have obtained environmental clearance without submitting EIA and R&R to Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). “We have decided to sue MRPL and MSEZ as our findings in the investigative report have been endorsed by reports filed Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India and by MoEF Director Kaliya Perumal.