Mangaluru, Mar 20, 2018: Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samithi, Mangaluru, which has been opposing land acquisition for the Phase IV expansion of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), has accused the Congress of double standards.
Addressing media on March 19, Monday, Lawrence D’Cunha, secretary of the samithi, said that the government should have applied the new Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 for issuing notification for acquiring 960 acres for the expansion project. Instead, it has used the “outdated” Karnataka Industrial Area Development Act, 1966.
The final notification for acquiring the land in Kuthettur, Permude, Tenka Yekkar, Mulur and Kandavara villages in Mangaluru taluk was issued in February, 2018. The preliminary notification was issued in January, 2017.
He said that it was the Congress which had claimed credit for bringing in the LARR Act, 2013 under the UPA II rule at the Centre. “It vehemently advocated and boasted about being fair to land owners by adopting the new Act,” he said.
The Congress even opposed moves by the NDA led by the BJP to dilute the Act by bringing in amendments. But strangely, now the State government led by the Congress in the State has used the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Act, 1966 for acquiring land for the project. It revealed the double standards of the Congress, he alleged. D’Cunha said that the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) should have used the new Act for issuing the notification. Instead using the old Act farmers have been deprived of their rights, he alleged.
The secretary said that the notification issued by the KIADB mentions that a majority of land identified for acquisition were under “tari” and “bhagayatu” categories. It meant that they were fertile land. The “tari” category refers that it was such land on which crops are grown thrice in a year.
The “bhagayatu” meant crops are grown twice a year. Even the RTC (record for tenancy and crops) of farmers whose land had been identified for acquisition refers about the two categories. But the Special Land Acquisition Officer of the KIADB has misled the government by mentioning that a majority of land proposed for acquisition are dry land, he said.
Hence, the government should conduct an inquiry into it and initiate action against the officer concerned, D’Cunha said.
Vidya Dinker, coordinator, Karavali Karnataka Janabhivruddhi Vedike alleged that the joint measurement certificate survey, involving many government departments like horticulture, agriculture, revenue, has not been conducted before issuing the final notification.
The land audit committee has simply endorsed the KIADB’s report without verifying whether the land meant for acquisition is dry or fertile (cultivated). Even the State High Level Clearance Committee has not bothered to verify it, she alleged.
Minister in-charge of Dakshina Kannada B. Ramanath Rai avoided answering a question on the allegation by Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samithi against the Congress at a press conference. Minister Rai who took the question and did not make the party’s stand clear on acquiring farm land for the project.