SC raps UP govt over land acquisition

SC raps UP govt over land acquisition

Apex court warns of Nandigram and Singur- like situation in all states

“We will not keep our eyes closed. You take it (agricultural land) from one side and give it to the other. This has to go and if it does not go, this court will step in to ensure that. It is development of one section of the society only,” a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and A K Patnaik said.

The court pulled up Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government for acquiring the land for builders under the urgency clause in the statute in Noida.

“Whose residential use are these flats for? Who is building them? What are the prices? We want to go into details of the case. This urgency clause is not automatically invoked. We do not want more Nandigrams in all states,” the bench said.

The court said it would not like a situation similar to Nandigaram in West Bengal where such steps to acquire land by invoking urgency clause under which farmers cannot raise objections led to large-scale protests and violence.

The land acquisition by state governments for industrial, infrastructure development has antagonised people in Singur and Nandigram (West Bengal), Bhatta-Parsaul (in Uttar Pradesh) and in Govindpur (for Posco project in Orissa) and other places.

When asked to comment on the court’s observations, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said the new draft bill on  land acquisition being prepared by the Rural Development Ministry would address the concerns already expressed by the National Advisory Council.

“There will be no more Singurs in India. The bill will keep in mind the aspirations of the people,” he said on the sideline of a programme in Delhi.

Earlier in the day, the bench was hearing petitions filed by Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority and real estate developers and builders, including Supertech and Amrapali against an Allahabad High Court order which had quashed the UP government’s notifications for acquisition 170 hectares of land in Greater Noida on May 31.

Next hearing on July 5

The  next hearing will be held on July 5. The court was particularly irked after being told that the High Court quashed the notification based on the contention that the agricultural land was initially acquired for industrial purpose at a cheap price, but was later transferred to builders for residential use.

It asked whether any effort was made to find any other land which was not in agricultural use. “Are you going to allot one apartment to each one of them (farmers)? If the government is having any barren land let that be given preference,” the court said.

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