Saturday, 21 May 2011

Land for Development Projects/Ventures:

For every development work whether for Electricity or for transportation facilities or for water for various requirements, land is a must. If adequate land is not available development cannot be achieved. Land is a primary requirement of any development work. Generally, land used for this is non-cultivable. However, sometimes even cultivable land is needed for development.
There are many reasons for this. Mostly it is chosen near a city where other facilities exist and additional facility is planned to be added. After adding new facility there are many advantages but at the same time it brings many disadvantages and also create new problems. The most faced problem is concentration of population in a small space. Neither the government nor the developing agency thinks about this concentration and gives rise to many more requirements. Additional people require necessary amenities. This needs additional land and that cannot be provided from the land acquired initially. Thus the process of acquiring more land continues and creates more problems.
As and when development takes place land prices increase spirally. Compensation paid to land owners is as per the rates in vogue at the time prior to development. Hence the land owners rightly feel they are cheated. People crowd from all over India where development starts. The locals feel that at the cost of their land, electricity and water outsiders are benefited. This is mostly because of those who come from outside offer their skills at low rates, work for longer hours and do not need training for required skills. They know that whatever remuneration they get is more than what they would have got in their place of origin. In many cases there is no opportunity for such people at their original location. Further they know that once they are established they can ask for higher remuneration and shall get the same. This is not an advisable condition.
There is a need to find solution for this problem. The solution must take in to consideration local population and others who are attracted towards development project. Following approach would solve the problem. There is a great need to improve communication. This can be done by joining various cities with a corridor of adequate width. This corridor can be used for joining forests in whole India so that there is a safe passage for forest animals to travel from place to place without disturbing human settlements. A passage of say 300 to 500 meters would serve necessary purpose, both transportation as well as joining forests. There may be a central passage fully protected with walls/iron grills and whatever is needed to protect human beings from wild animals. Strips of passage on both sides should be used for service roads, BRT, metro rails, railway tracks, express ways, services like electricity; water; message communication etc. There should be well defined crossings to cross the corridor from both sides. While doing this attention must be given for safety and easy communication between both outer sides of the corridor. New habitations should be established on both sides of the corridor. In olden days water had been the most essential requirement of human beings. In present era water still is at top of the most essential needs of a man. However due to availability of techniques water can be carried at long distance where communication facilities are available. Therefore, communication tops the list of essential needs in present age. Hence there is no alternative but to provide communication facilities on priority. This shall also avoid congestion in present cities and towns and would not require more facilities for these places. Such corridors are needed for connecting cities, towns and villages all over India.
Land needed for this has to be taken from the present owners. These owners shall be deprived of the land and may become landless and homeless. In short they would be victims of development. At present they are given some compensation and promises to rehabilitation. In practice it is found that the promises are never fulfilled and where some thing is given it takes many years. In some cases rehabilitation work is not completed even after 50 years. Another group of people who suffer is the landless unskilled labour. Most of them work in area of cultivation and they don't have skills to work in any other job created through development. These are the people who suffer and hence, there is great resistance for giving land for development. This has been experienced all over the country whether in Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh or Bengal or Odisha or any other state. There is yet another aspect why land is not offered by the owners. Land prices rise spirally with progress in development work. Owner gets price as prevalent at the time of acquisition and finds the same rises upwards to 10 times or after adequate time even 100 times. There is another interesting observation that land owners in adjoining area of development are benefited and their land price hikes. They could sell the land as and when more area is required for development. A total solution is needed for these obstacles. The solution should be a combined one and not isolated.

Development is in the interest of all citizens, at least in the interest of most of the citizens. Therefore, if a sacrifice is expected from locals the rest of the country must share the price for development. Considering the fundamental obstacles a policy for acquiring land must take in to consideration following procedure.
1.            A plan must be prepared for joining all cities, as many towns and villages on route. A shortest practical route must be found.
2.            There is no necessity to consider entire country at one time and it could be divided in sections. Initially it may be considered for large cities in a particular state followed by cities in adjoining states.
3.            Development plan must be prepared at least for 2 nearest cities in totality. It must consider not only roads but all other facilities down to public urinals, police stations, road furniture, parking etc.
4.            Total area needed for development must be estimated and no more area should be left for future planning.
5.            While acquiring land consideration should be given for land 10 to 20 times. This means every land owner has to sacrifice for 10% or 5 % of his/her land.
6.            Land required for development should be acquired and remaining 90/95 % land should be redistributed among the landowners in the same priority as existing before acquisition. That is land owner whose land is used for development gets land touching the developed area and so on.
7.            A cooperative of all land owners whose land is considered for acquisition and redistribution must be formed. Share of every member shall be equal to the land considered in acquisition. Land used for industrial, commercial and residential purpose shall be the property of this society. Whatever income received from sale of land shall be the direct income of the society. It would be more appropriate to give this land on rent for a long period say 999 years. Every year on the beginning of the financial year valuation of the land should be done and a fixed percentage of the assessed cost be paid to the land owners or their respective heirs. This would give them a constant and dependable income for 999 years. After 999 years either the land be returned or the contract be extended for further period of 999 years.
8.            State shall bear development cost of all public amenities like roads, gardens, play grounds, government schools/colleges etc. This is part of paying price for development by the nation.
9.            Considering people holding land is half work. More important is landless labour. This labour needs special consideration. Landless labour may not possess skill for direct employment either during development or after. This labour and others shall be trained to improve skills needed for different type of work expected during and after development.
10.        On the periphery of the area acquired for development a 20 metre wide strip of land must be reserved for people who get displaced. Minimum of 11 metre wide road should be constructed along the periphery which shall be permanent demarcation of the area to be developed for industrial, commercial, residential and amenities/utilities purpose and beyond this no construction shall be permitted except by and for physical land holders as per the existing rules. Sale of this property for any other purpose than the purpose for which utilised by locals at the time of preparing plan for development shall not be permitted during lease period or later.
11.        Displaced population (whether holding land or landless at the time of acquisition starts) may be offered a flat and shop in residential and commercial area under development at market price prevailing at the time of construction.
12.        Displaced population shall be offered training, jobs and other opportunities for earning livelihood and ensured that they get enough to survive in the changed circumstances. If any of them refuse to avail this opportunity they shall loose their chance and shall not be offered any special concession in future.
13.        Displaced population shall be offered shares in the industrial and commercial ventures etc. at reduced rates and the same would be deducted from cost of the land the respective person is eligible to receive.
14.        Special attention is necessary for safety of locals, their farms and all sources of bread earning.  
15.        In no case the government should take responsibility of collecting and distributing money. The government must prepare plans for utilising land for development; construction of roads and all other utilities. Further construction and development shall be responsibility of companies establishing their venture and pay for the land required directly to the cooperative of the original land holders. Cost of planning and providing utilities shall be borne by the government.

This procedure shall not only reduce resistance of locals but would willingly offer their land for development work. There may be resistance for certain type of problems. These may be pollution, loss of natural resources, hazards from development ventures and alike. Care may be taken to provide safety against expected hazards. Following aspects may be considered to take care of such problems.
1.            Earthquake protection: Recent accident at Fukushima in Japan has shown that earthquake intensity may enhance in time to come. During construction of nuclear power plant earthquake intensity of 6 on Richter scale had been taken in to account. However, the latest earthquake intensity had been over 8 on Richter scale. This created problems and possibility of nuclear pollution. Considering possible increase in earthquake intensity safety standard must be improved substantially.
2.            Leakage of harmful Gas: Capital city of Madhya Pradesh i. e. Bhopal suffered from gas leakage. Many died on spot and those who survived became victims of slow poison. People are rightly scared against such hazards. All precautions shall be taken against expected hazard and workable plans must be ready to face this.
3.            Effect on natural resources: In some cases natural resource like fishing may become unavailable after development. There must be an alternative to fishing so that the local could survive with their present skills.

There may be many more obstructions which would make resistance of locals high. A solution must be found for all obstacles including the smallest ones. Government should think over totally not only from the point of view of gain from development work but also from the point of view of locals whose life style would change. This view should never be neglected.
Development of accommodation for JJ colony residents is immediate problem which needs attention. This could be address at least partially (For those who can pay construction cost) Land cost is very high in cities compared to construction cost. Poorest of poors can pay construction cost but not land cost in prime locations. This will solve 2 difficulties in 1 action. Those who can pay construction cost would get house in location they have never dreamt and secondly people in the area would get manpower for day to day repairs and work. Additional by-product would be  poor but well disciplined society members. The government has to take a decision for plinth area authorisation given next. Plinth area used for following purposes shall not be counted in the present plinth area authorisation.
1. Flat consisting of bedrooms with attached toilets for old age parents of flat owners in the building.
2. Flats/rooms used as first aid centre of nearby renowned hospital.
3. repair shop of domestic instruments with zero risk.
4. shops up to 2 Nos. for essential good like grocery, vegetables, medicine etc.

No comments:

Popular Posts