PTI-UNI report. Appeal by eminent personalities to Govt.of India to apply new Land law of 2013 to Polavaram dam displaced.
Eminent writers and personalities today urged the BJP-led NDA government at the centre and the Andhra Pradesh government to provide relief and rehabilitation to one lakh displaced people following the construction of Polavaram dam acoss River Godavari in the first phase. Press Council of India member K Amarnath, economist and senior journalist Dr Pentapati Pulla Rao, Centre for Media Studies, Delhi Chairman Dr N Bhasker Rao and Supreme Court Advocate Shravan Kumar, in a statement here, asserted that the governments had to apply the latest land law of 2013 to Polavaram Dam affected people. Polavaram dam, a Union Government project, located in residuary Andhra Pradesh, is now under the jurisdiction of the central Ministry of Water Resources.
A total of four lakh people, according to the statement, will be displaced by the time the Polavaram Dam is completed, constituting the largest displacement of people in India for any single Project. Thus far, the government has been fixing Relief and Rehabiliation under the terms of the 1894 Land Acquisition Act, which has now been replaced by the Land Acquisition Act of 2013. ‘We appeal that the Union government apply its latest land laws to the entire process of land acquisition and displacement to Polavaram dam.The displaced and a project affected people have been agitating peacefully only for their due compensation,” they said. The eminent writers also said the new Land Acquisition law clearly states under section 24(2) that the entire Land acquisition process has to be made anew, if people are still living on their land and properties.
It has been proven with all documents to the NHRC and other institutions that the tribals, Dalits, Backward classes and farmers are living and earning their livelihoods in the Polavaram Mandal of West Godaveri district, and Devipatnam mandal of East Godaveri district. ‘In view of the seriousness of the issue, we appeal to NDA Government and the Government of Andhra Pradesh to respect the Constitution and apply the new Land Law of 2013 to these unfortunate people, living in a extremely remote and backward area. The only demand of these thousands of people is that the new Land Law of 2013 be applied to them as they are legally entitled to that law. We also appeal ‘that these people should not be evicted and displaced and prevented from cultivating their lands till the government announces that the Relief and Rehabilitation will be under the new Land Law of 2013. That is the law of the land .That is why this new land law was enacted and replaced the old 1894 Land Acquisition Act,’ they added. The Land Law ordinance re-promulgated on April 3, 2015, by the Modi government also stated that displaced people under Central Projects can demand employment of one member of a family. This compulsory employment must also apply to the Polavaram dam since lakhs of people will be displaced by the Central Dam. The Union Ministry of Water Resources must take full responsibility for the implementation of central laws with regard to relief and rehabilitation, they said.UNI CH RP