Monday, September 30, 2013
NGOs demand policy to bar TP schemes
Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013, 12:05 IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on Tuesday requested Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh to frame a policy that would bar implementing town planning (TP) schemes in rural areas.
The NGOs also brought to notice problems faced by fishermen, nomads, misuse of SEZ (Special Economic Zone) to get land, common property and sale of pasture land during their meeting with the union minister at Gujarat Vidyapith.
Majority of the issues raised by NGOs pertained to land in the form of acquisition under the town planning act, selling of pasture and government land as well as land acquired for SEZ and then denotifying the zone.
Former state finance minister Sanat Mehta said the government has taken the TP scheme route just to acquire land in rural areas.
“The central government should frame some policy to avoid taking such routes,” said Mehta. In reply, Ramesh assured Mehta of looking into the matter.
“A majority of the revenue reforms in Gujarat benefit industrialists only. In fact, land mafia are sitting in the government,” alleged Lalji Desai, convener of the Jamin Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG).
Harinesh Pandya of Janpath represented the case of landless people and people with traditional but not legal rights to land. He also raised the issue of illegal mining in the coastal areas of the state.
The NGOs even raised questions of using SEZ to grab land and Ramesh agreed that SEZs had become a land racket.
“We will bring all future SEZs under land acquisition bill. But will give a thought to SEZ that have already been notified and are getting denotified,” he said. For the betterment of fishermen, Ramesh felt that there was a need for Fishermen Rights Act in line with the Forest Rights Act. He added that he had prepared a draft for the same when he was environment minister.
NGOs a racket, says Ramesh
Although Jairam Ramesh is considered to be pro-NGO, he called NGOs a racket because of misuse by political people. While addressing a question about the decrease in the role of NGOs in rural development, Ramesh agreed that their role had decreased consciously as their experience with NGOs in some states was not so good. “We want to strengthen Panchayati Raj institutions and women self-help groups,” said the union minister.
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