Thursday, June 23, 2011

कुछ इस तर्ज पर बढ़ेगी जमीन की लूट..

मैंने बहुत पहले संदेह जताया था कि अगर सत्तर या अस्सी प्रतिशत जमीन कब्ज़ा करने की जिम्मेदारी निजी हाथों को सौंप दी जाए तो लूट और बढ़ जाएगी. असल तो किसान को पता ही नहीं कि कीमत कितनी ली जाए, जिससे रोजी-रोटी आराम से चल जाए. पहले सरकारें अधिग्रहण करती थीं तो पुनर्वास और उस परियोजना में परिवार के एक आदमी को सरकारी नौकरी देती थीं, जिससे कम से कम एक परिवार के ३०-४० साल तक के जीने का सहारा मिल जाता था. अब किसानों के लिए कोई व्यवस्था नहीं है. निजी कम्पनियाँ नौकरी दे भी दें तो कितने दिन का भरोसा होगा? साथ ही अगर निजी क्षेत्र जमीन कब्ज़ा करेगा तो पहले तो वो औने पौने भाव जमीन खरीदेगा, फिर स्थानीय माफिया को जमीन कब्ज़ा करने का जिम्मा दे देगा, और वो उस क्षेत्रीय गुंडे को एक मुश्त रकम दे देगा, सुपारी के रूप में...

टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया में आई इस खबर ने सरकार की मंशा साफ़ कर दी. मेरा संदेह भी पुख्ता हुआ..

BJP mantri’s son buys farmland for Videocon

Supriya Sharma TNN

Janjgir-Champa (Chhattisgarh): Over the past few months, a “lal batti gaadi” has been spotted frequently in the narrow lanes of Gaud village, carrying Sandeep Kanwar, whom villagers identify as “mantri ka beta” (minister’s son). Sandeep is the son of Nankiram Kanwar, Chhattisgarh’s home minister. He is also the chief of BJP’s Anusuchit Janjaati Morcha (Scheduled Tribes Front) in Korba.
But in his latest avatar, Sandeep has

been appointed public relations officer of Videocon group, which is setting up a 1200mw power plant in Gaud and the neighbouring villages of Bhada, Gadapalli, Akaltari and Kewa. Gaud is in Janjgir-
Champa, a small district in central Chhattisgarh, an extended landscape of irrigated plains, all set to become India’s power hub. Thirty-six thermal power plants are coming up here, the largest cluster of power projects anywhere in the country.
The farmland required for these projects is 960 acres, out of which approval for 198 acres was given by the state government last December. But the buying began
much before that and a nexus of corporate and political interests is profiting at the cost of the poor and powerless, with tribal farmers among the worst affected. Sandeep and Videocon are good examples of how the collusion works.
“Sandeep Kanwar comes, holds meetings and tells us we should sell our land to the company,” said Ram Charan, a farmer in Gaud. Since Sandeep travels as an official, often with the local patwari, few see him as representing a private company. Villagers say his constant visits have intimidated several families into selling their land. “Raj ukhar hai (he is in power),” says Mahatma, an old farmer. “His car is marked with phool chhaap (BJP’s lotus symbol).”
Faced with protests, the state industries department was forced to grant a stay to the approval given to Videocon to buy land. And Sandeep acknowledges he has erred.
It is not just that the minister’s son is playing the role of a dubious persuader. He has been buying land to help the company circumvent important safeguards for tribal farmers. With Sandeep as a “front”, the state rehabilitation policy is bypassed.
Sandeep Kanwar, son of Chhattisgarh’s home minister Nankiram Kanwar, a tribal, has been acquiring land for Videocon, which is setting up a 1200mw power plant in Gaud and nearby villages
Sandeep, as Videocon PRO, visits villages in a red-beacon car with BJP party symbol, along with the patwari, blurring politicalcorporate lines
On paper the power of attorney is with the Videocon project director for the power plant. Payment is also done by the company
Farmers allege Sandeep used political clout and threats to buy land at low prices
Minister’s son profits as farmers forced to sell cheap According to section 165
(6) of Chhattisgarh’s land revenue code,
tribal land cannot be sold to a non-tribal without the district collector’s permission. Enacted by Madhya Pradesh in 1959, the law seeks to protect vulnerable tribal communities from being dispossessed of their land by powerful groups.
However, over the decades, land agents have perfected a way to get around it: prop up a tribal buyer as a front. He buys small land holdings from several tribals. Once enough land is accumulated, he seeks the collector’s permission to sell it to the actual buyer, keeping a small chunk to satisfy the condition that, as a tribal, he was not left landless.
As the son of Chhattisgarh’s highest ranking tribal minister, Sandeep is the best “front” a company could find. TOI has testimonies of villagers that show Sandeep bought land in their area. Sandeep bought 4.07 acres from Sonuaram; 6.86 acres from Gulab; 0.35 acres from Sukalu; 0.96 from Radhabai – all tribal farmers of Bhada village. Radhabai initially resisted the pressure to sell, till she was promised, “ek parchi mein do naukri (two jobs for one sale deed)”. A widow with two sons, she was taken away at night and kept in a dharamshala for four days. “I was allowed to leave only after I had signed the papers,” she said. Radhabai feels cheated, but since Sandeep is “mantri ka beta”, she dare not complain.
While buying land as a “front” is common practice, in this case it seems even pretences have been done away with. TOI has a copy of a document where Sandeep has signed away the power of attorney to one Vishnu Mulay: “I have been appointed as the PRO of Janjgir project by Videocon Industries. Since I am busy with my duties, I am un
able to buy land. Hence, I appoint Vishnu Mulay, son of Achyut Mulay, as my attorney. He will buy land on my behalf in Gaud, Akaltari, Bhada, Kewa, Gadapalli, etc.”
Mulay is a top Videocon executive and the project director of the Janjgir Champa project. Although the legality of the document could not be confirmed – it’s signed but not registered – it makes for fascinating reading.
“The payment (for the land) will be made by Videocon,” the paper states. When contacted, Sandeep said that as the company PRO, he had simply facilitated the purchase of land. But when told about the documents in TOI’s possession, he accepted he had bought the tribal land directly. “Since the company can’t buy tribal land, I bought it to transfer to the company later,” he said.
The “facilitation” is at the cost of farmers, though. Sonuaram sold his entire land of 4.07 acres to Sandeep for Rs 11,21,000. This works out to less than Rs 3 lakh per acre, against the Rs 8 lakh stipulated as the minimum rate for single crop land under Chhattisgarh’s revised rehabilitation policy of 2010.
Not only was Sonauram cheated of fair price, he also lost all claim to rehabilitation, since he sold his land not to the company but to Sandeep. In effect, he cannot stake
claim to employment or any other benefit in lieu of land, although his land was taken over by the company: one-foot high concrete poles have been dug at the plot corners, painted with VC, for Videocon.
While poor tribal farmers lose out, Sandeep stands to make a neat profit when he resells the same land to the company. The company, in turn, reduces its liabilities and rehabilitation responsibilities.
Asked why he was cheating poor farmers of the right price and rehabilitation, Sandeep responded, “Galti ho gayi (I made a mistake)”.
But Sandeep is not the only “front” the company appears to have used. Records show largescale purchases of non-tribal land by Bodhiram Sahu, and tribal land by Bilam Singh. While Sahu is a minor employee of Videocon, Singh is a resident of Cherpani village in Kawardha district, 200km away. He features on the BPL list, but records show he owns land worth lakhs.
Vishnu Mulay, project director, chose to dissociate the company from Sandeep. “He has bought land in his individual capacity, it has nothing to do with the company,” Mulay said. Asked about the land bought by Bodhiram Sahu, a company employee, Mulay said, “We’re answerable only to the government which will see if we are following its regulations or not.”
Officials confirmed that the company’s public hearing scheduled for April was postponed. In a letter to the district collector on April 1, the industry department placed a stay on the approval given to the company to purchase land in Gaud, Bhada, Gadapalli and nearby villages. Official also confirmed that complaints led to postponement of the project’s public hearing. The industries department has already taken back the “in-principle approval” for land purchase.

1 comment:

प्रवीण पाण्डेय said...

ये तो होना ही था।