Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Power Developers Violating Sikkim Land Acquisition rules :ACT

Blatant violations of Land Acquisition Act by Power Developers in Sikkim
Gangtok, August 3: Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) accused the state government and Panang 280 MW power developer for cheating and misleading the common people while acquisition of land was completely illegal from the point of view of the land acquisition laws, company acts and rules, Dawa Lepcha, general Secretary of ACT said in a press release.
The release said that Himagiri Hydro Energy Pvt. Limited being a private limited company (with only three share holders, that too a family) cannot request the government to acquire lands other than those needed specifically for labour colonies and related amenities. In other words, lands needed for setting up of other parts of the projects cannot be acquired by the government for the said company. Since the entire lands needed by the company for Panang Project, has been acquired by the government on behalf of the said company, clear violation of the Section 44B of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, has taken place among others. Section 44B prohibits such action and proceedings the release reads.
The acquiring of lands identified for colony in Lingzya near the proposed dam site is also in violation of the “Specific Condition” of the clearance letter of MOEF. When there was specific condition that no labor or staff colony will be allowed inside Dzongu, there was no need to acquire the lands that were identified for setting up of labor colony, Lepcha said.
Act further claimed that the lands are being acquired for “Public Purpose” are in direct conflict with the acquisition laws, as not a single paise has been paid for compensation from the public revenue, which is mandatory for the acquisition to qualify as public purpose. The law clearly states that in case of acquisition for public purpose, whole or a part of compensation has to be paid or contributed from public revenue. The release further said that the 26 percent of equity share that is projected is not part of the compensation.
But in the case of Panang project & Teesta Stage III and many others the entire compensation has been paid by the companies with out a single paise contribution from public revenue. Hence these lands cannot be said to have been acquired for public purpose. This is a blatant violation of the Part VII of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, especially in the case of Himagiri Hydro Energy Private Limited. The laws and rules are being neglected and mocked by the mighty authorities, ACT said.
Subsequently, ACT has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary N D Chingapa to look into the matter and that rectification done before the September 21, next month, after which ACT will place the matter in front of the highest court of judiciary.
On other front it was decided in a Executive Body meeting on 02/08/09 that ACT will form a separate grievance cell to look into the R&R implementation and the exploitation of the project affected people (PAP) and the environment of those areas where the project work have started, especially in the case of Teesta Stage III headed by ACT Chief Co-ordinator Tseten Lepcha.
(Sikkim Express)