SC issues notices to Centre, UP in land acquisition case

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government on a petition challenging the use of Land Acquisition Act for forcibly acquiring the land of farmers for private parties for setting up of industries in the garb of public purposes.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal, however, directed the petitioners, Sahayog Samiti, to delete the name of Reliance Industries belonging to Anil Ambani group from the list of respondents.

Sahayog Samiti, an organisation of landless farmers, whose 903.449 hectares of fertile land located in seven villages of district Ghaziabad, had been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, contended that it was the gross misuse of the Act being used for private purposes.

According to the petitioners, the fertile land of farmers, which was the only source of their livelihood was being forcibly taken away by paying meagre compensation in the name of industrial and technological development in the area.

The land had been acquired for setting up of a power plant while, in fact, within a distance of one km there already existed a NTPC power plant. It was a clear indication that perhaps the deal involved issues which did not meet the eye, according to the petitioner.

The petitioners have also alleged that many farmers had opted to fight until death against the acquisition of their land and that the protest by them had fallen on deaf ears.

There have been violent protests across the country, including Nandigram in West Bengal, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana as well as Goa.

The petitioners have also relied on an earlier judgement which ruled that good agricultural land should not be acquired for the purpose of setting up of SEZs.

The petition had been tagged with similar others already pending in the court.

UNI AKS/SC SHB BD1455

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