Days after the farmers unrest broke out in Aligarh district over land acquisition,the Uttar Pradesh government has suddenly realised that it was following an outdated 2003 Resettlement and Rehabilitation policy of the Union government for families displaced in land acquisition for development of a project.
While the Union Government came out with the fresh R&R policy,notified in October 2007 (after Mayawati Government came to power in the state),the state government continued to follow the old 2003 policy,which was adopted in UP through a government order in August 2004.
It was only two days ago that the state government,in order to remove the loopholes in its existing R&R policy,came out with an amended government order,which also laid down new forms of assistance for project-affected families and laid stress on proper implementation of some earlier forms of rehabilitation process.
The August 17 order was passed on by Principal Secretary,Uttar Pradesh Revenue Department,K K Sinha,to all district magistrates,divisional commissioners as well as government departments on Wednesday. In the order,Sinha has clearly told the officers concerned,I have been instructed to ask you that the amended order should be implemented with immediate affect.
He refused say anything on the issue.
The orders asks all the heads of departments concerned to first ensure appointment of Administrator and Commissioner, Resettlement and Rehabilitation for the projects which involve land acquisition as per the 2004 R&R policy. It lays down the responsibilities and duties of these administrators and commissioners,which would be to have consultation with the project affected families,ensure that welfare of SC/ST and other weaker sections of society is not affected,form budget for rehabilitation and resettlement and ensure that it is properly implemented.
The order lists eight types of rehabilitation and resettlement facilities for project-affected families. The most significant and new clause among these facilities is that affected families would be given one-time financial assistance,which will be equivalent to the amount of minimum agricultural wages for five years. It would be considered as compensation towards livelihood. Apart from this,the land acquired for projects of long distance like state highways,railway lines etc,each affected family would also get an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10,000.