Thursday, February 21, 2008

Status report on land acquisition in Singur released

Business Line (Hindu)

`997.11 acres have been acquired till December'

Kolkata , Jan. 2

The West Bengal Government today released a status report on land acquisition in Singur providing details of the land acquired, chronology of land acquisition and payment of compensation to landowners and `bargadars'.

The status report enumerates in detail the important provisions of the Land Acquisition Act 1894, the "meaning of consent", the pre-award and post-award consents to amount of compensation, declaration of award and possession, mutation and conversion of the acquired lands and compensation that has been paid.

According to the report, a total of 997.11 acres of land spread across five `mouzas' in Singur, district Hooghly, has been acquired as on December 31, 2006. The process of land acquisition in Singur began with the publication of notifications under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 from July 20, 2006 onwards and was completed with the Declaration of Awards under Section 11 of the Act on September 23 and 25, 2006. Payment of compensation in accordance with the award began on September 25, 2006 and is still continuing.

The status report mentions that the "Act does not have any provision for the Collector to obtain individual consent of landowners to the acquisition nor is there any prescribed form for consent to acquisition".

It adds that the State Government, "vide Govt Order No. 1703-LA-3M-07/06 Dated 6 June, 2006, made provision for consent award under Section 11 (2) of the Act, and prescribed the form in which such consents are to be submitted".

It also states that "consent under Section 11(2) is a means of involvement of the citizen in determination of award. However, non-submission of consent in writing in terms of Section 11(2) does not prevent the Collector from declaring the award and acquiring the land... ..Not accepting the compensation after declaration of award for any part of land does not mean that the land for that part will not be vested in the Government".

Total compensation

The total compensation payable is Rs 119 crore. Of this, Rs 83 crore has been disbursed till December 31, 2006. Cheques have been issued to 9,839 persons in respect of 658 acres of land. A further amount of Rs 36 crore remains to be made to approximately 2,400 people.

The only action remaining is the payment of compensation to the awardees or their legal heirs, which is currently in progress, according to the status report.