The mega development projects initiated by states and union government affect people badly. The consequence is displacement from their land, environment and home due to large-scale land acquisition. Such projects include irrigation, hydropower, thermal power, transport network, mineral exploitation, industrial and allied activities, and urban expansion.
India has been facing challenges in land acquisition. The prime reason beneath is the rehabilitation of the people impacted with the development of industrial projects. Poor implementation of resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) policy and plans cause various hindrances both for the community and governments.
Industrial development is resorted through a standard development practice adopted by all the states across the country. In India, industrialisation and mineral exploitation projects are essentially required to survive in the competitive global business environment.
The development of the people residing in remote locations by protecting their rights and interest and giving them better ecosystem for overall human development should be given adequate importance. This approach is necessary for prosperity and progress of the nation. Therefore, the states have to protect the indigenous people and promote industrialisation in parallel and within constitutional framework.
The Supreme Court of India has observed that Right to Life given in the Indian Constitution is not followed in the right sprit while undertaking displacement and rehabilitation of displaced persons. If done properly, development projects should encourage peace and harmony among various stakeholders including land owner, people, community, business organisation and governments. What is critical is balancing the needs and priorities. India cannot afford further infringement of law and violation of human rights.
Land conflicts are a major cause of civil unrest in India. It poses a grave challenge to the authority of the State, on one hand and the democratic rights of citizens, on the other. It is important to strike a balance between the need for land for developmental activities and the need to adequately address the issues raised by those impacted by the acquisition of land.
There have been several issues relating to the implementation of R&R that are still perceived as having been inadequately addressed. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and Rule 2014 is in place but its proper implementation is urgently required at grassroot level.
The management of Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (MLARR) has become an integral part of the process of infrastructural development. However, a major challenge in this regard is the weak institutional and human resources capacity to address land acquisition and involuntary resettlement globally.
Evacuating the densely populated area with thousands of families and homestead is a herculean task for any industrial organization and state government while maintaining peace, and law and order at the same time. The population being affected by the larger mining and industrial projects comprised primarily of marginalised section of the society, who are economically poor, illiterate, malnourished and live in unhygienic conditions.
The greater understanding of leaders handling the land acquisition, R&R and CSR about the indigenous community, their believes, tradition and customs, deep-rooted values, their profound attachment to the mother land and ability to survive in challenging environment can help in successful land acquisition. It will also help in better planning for their rehabilitation and resettlement. Corporate Social Responsibility for project affected community can play significant role in balancing the interest of all major stakeholders.
It must be remembered that land, water and community support are essential inputs for infrastructure and industrial development. The mega development projects must win the heart of the land losers, indigenous people, and community at large through various socio-economic development innovation and initiatives with the active participation of the community.
Transport network, industrial and mineral exploration projects must be seen a special opportunity to reduce poverty, drive up the education and healthcare ecosystem at ground, upgrade the lives of particular indigenous people, community and socio-economy state of the particular region for sustainable development. A community led approach would be better and peaceful.
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