Now, farmers can’t reclaim their land in UP


Ashish Tripathi

LUCKNOW: When farmers are coming forward to reclaim their land acquired for long but not used by the Uttar Pradesh government, the latter has amended the law to stop farmers from doing so.

The move also clashes with the provisions in the new land acquisition law proposed by the Central government. The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday got the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2011 approved by the state assembly amid uproar and then adjoined the assembly sine die. After the amendment, now people will not be able to stake claim to get back their land once acquired by the government, even if it is not used for more than five years after acquisition.

Earlier, the law gave right to the people to get compensation and reclaim their land if it was not used by the government within five years. Now, the amendment empowers government to keep the unused land as long as it wants. Significantly, on Thursday, farmers of Nithari, Chaura Sadarpur and Morna in Gautambudh Nagar filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court to get back their land which was acquired in 1976 by the UP government. Farmers said that around 1500 bigha of land was acquired by the district development authority for urbanization but it has not been put to use till date.

The High Court has admitted the petition and fixed August 17 for hearing the case. Further, on Monday last, the Allahabad High Court had stayed acquisition of 317 hectare of land by UP government in three villages of Bulandshahr. The state government had acquired the land in Junaidnagar, Budhnagar and Saraiya for industrial development in 1998-99 using urgency clause of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 . However, the land has not been used till date.

The villagers now want their land back or adequate compensation as per the latest land rates. The High Court after hearing the petition of villagers, stayed the land acquisition and gave a month time to government to resolve the issue by negotiating with villagers. Significantly, the amendment which denies right to reclaim was passed on the last day of the monsoon session of the state assembly. It was adjourned sine die following uproar by the Opposition. Later, opposition parties termed the amendment as anti farmer. Leaders of SP, BJP, Congress and RLD have also accused the BSP government of showing utter disregard to parliamentary procedure by getting the amendment passed in the state assembly without any debate.

The amendment done by the Uttar Pradesh government also clashes with the new land acquisition and rehabilitation law proposed by the Congress led UPA government at the centre. The proposed law gives right to reclaim acquired land if not used for five years. Uttar Pradesh government officers, while justifying the move, said that the amendment is applicable only for acquisitions done by urban development authorities.

It does not include acquisition done under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 for industrial or any other public purpose, they added. Further, they said that acquisition will be done as per new land acquisition and rehabilitation policy of the state government, which has provisions for adequate compensation and rehabilitation, hence there will be no public resentment.

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