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INOC, USA calls on the Prime Minister of India not to tamper with the 2013 Land Acquisition Act

April 18, 2015 , Juned Qazi

inoc1New York: In a unanimous resolution passed Indian National overseas Congress, USA (INOC.USA) appeals to the Prime Minister of India not to tamper with the current law covering the Land acquisition but rather retain the spirit and letter of the 2013 act that was passed with consensus by all political parties that include BJP.

The plight of farmers and landowners all over India has drawn the deep anguish and sympathy of all Indians including those living abroad and INOC stands in solidarity with the suffering farmers of India in their rights to protect their prized possessions.

INOC.USA is in full sympathy and in solid support of their concerns and demands, stands solidly behind the farmers in protesting against the proposed action by the Modi Government so that their means of livelihood is not tampered with and remains reasonably assured and protected.This is yet another of the many activities taken up by the Modi government that causes more damage and harm than good to the lower working class people and disproportionately benefit the rich and the powerful.

INOC.USA therefore strongly protests and demands that no action be taken to amend the existing land acquisition laws so that equity and justice continues to prevail.

INOC.USA has further delivered a letter to the Consulate-General of India by a delegation led by George Abraham, Chairman, Juned Qazi, President, Harbachan Singh, Secretary General and Mohinder Singh Gilzian Sr. Vice-President, Jasvir Singh Nawanshahr, Executive Committee Member, Haresh Thakur, Executive Committee Member, U.A. Naseer, Kerala Chapter, T.J.Gill, President, Punjab Chapter, Krishna Chaitanya, New Jersey Chapter, Mahesh Patel New Jersey Chapter and several other members.

Resolution:

Request to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India by the Indian National Overseas Congress, USA through the Consul General of India, New York to retain the spirit and letter of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act intact.

Your Excellency,

It is extremely distressing to note that the present Government is determined to remove all safe guards and fair and equitable compensatory provisions from the 2013 land acquisition act that was passed by consensus that currently protects the farmers and livelihoods from any forced takeover of their land.

Historically, India’s land acquisition process had been notoriously slow and considered unfair to landowners. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2012, replaced the 1894 colonial era law and redressed the anomaly which had previously allowed the Government to grab any land it wanted and got away by paying below market compensation.

Sir, it appears that your government wants to reverse the law back to draconian situation that prevailed at that time. The current law calls for consensus as well as fair compensation for the people suddenly displaced and rendered unemployed. It should be noted that the current law exempts important infrastructure projects like Highways from the consensus clauses that we consider, critical for developments.

India still remains mostly an agrarian with 70% of the people engaged in Agriculture. These new changes your Government is embarked upon making will be detrimental to the interests of the farmer who depends on it for sustenance and to supply the nation with necessary food products. These proposed changes to the law may not only favor the powerful and the wealthy but also may wreak havoc, misery and devastation of the lives of millions of farmers in India. Besides being a bad governing policy, it most likely would lead the poor to the brink of disaster and ultimately will have the consequence of hurting the economy of the country – leading to political and social destabilization – a drastic policy change that stands in stark contrast to extensively deliberated and better formulated laws that are applied by responsible nations.

We strongly urge that the laws as they stand currently should therefore not be tampered with as they were strenuously debated and passed by an overwhelming majority of the parties in unison with each other in the honest believe that a happy balance had truly been struck in 2013. When laws are equitable, they also draw foreign investments as opposed to the contrary.

A responsible government must therefore be very careful not to do acts or omission which will negatively affect millions of people personally and the national economy indirectly.

We therefore strongly request that the Government desists immediately from taking any action on the existing land acquisition laws which will otherwise jeopardize the livelihood of the vast majority of working class struggling people.

Accept, Sir, the Assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours Sincerely,
Juned Qazi President
April 15, 20

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