SK: Rail link from West Bengal requires gram sabha approval under FRA

A train to Sikkim continues to be a distant possibility despite the fact that it has been a priority project for the Union government. The 52.7km rail link between Sevoke in West Bengal and Rangpo in Sikkim was supposed to be ready by December 2015, but is now stuck in a procedural tangle. The Rs.3,380-crore project will take up around 86 hectares of forest land, which needs clearance from the Union environment ministry. But prior to that, under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, the project needs to be cleared by local gram sabhas. However, in this case, the Kurseong and Kalimpong divisions of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council do not have panchayats. “The main problem is, India’s Constitution exempts Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council area from having a district panchayat. But as per the Forest Rights Act, 2006, permission from gram sabha is required for diversion of forest area. However, in the absence of a panchayat and a go-ahead from them, we have not been able to clear the project,” said an environment ministry official who did not wished to be named. Though the ministry’s forest advisory committee cleared the project in September 2014 subject to gram sabha approval, the ministry of tribal affairs has refused its approval. According to documents reviewed by Mint, the tribal affairs ministry stated that the Forest Rights Act, 2006, does not provide any exemptions in procedure when it comes to the gram sabha nod for diversion of forest...

KE: Land acquisition next hurdle for ring road to Vizhinjam port

Union minister for road, transport and highways Nitin Gadkari’s recent approval for the proposal of a NH ring road in the district has brought an end to worries that the Vizhinjam project could lead to traffic congestion. The NH wing of the state PWD had submitted a proposal for a Rs 1,500-crore project for widening the road which passes through Balaramapuram, Uchhakada, Mukkola, Vizhinjam Seaport Junction (Mulloor), Pulinkudi, Chappath, Pulluvila, Chavadi, Kanjiramkulam, Pazhayakada, Olathanni and Neyyatinkara. The Union minister, however, gave an in-principal approval for only Rs 1,200 crore, of which around Rs 400 crore will be used for construction alone. The current width of the road is just 12 metres and the carriageway available is 5.5 metres. The proposal is to widen the stretch to 45 metres. Around 200 acres of additional land will be required. “Now people get better compensation as land prices are fixed by the district-level purchase committee. So we hope there won’t be major hurdles for acquisition,” an NH official said. Development of Vizhinjam port is expected to bring huge containers into the district, making better connectivity a crucial factor for the successful functioning of the port. The development of the road connecting Vizhinjam seaport, NH bypass and Karamana-Kaliyikkavila would accelerate the state’s industrial and economic growth. The proposed road starts at Balaramapuram on national highway 47, connects Vizhinjam port and ends at Neyyatinkara on NH...

AP: Centre Ready to Fund Land Acquisition for Nellore Port

Dugarajapatnam Port in Nellore district appears to have hit a road block. Though it has been promised in the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014, it is not clear when the Central government would redeem it. The main problem the Centre is facing with respect of the port is that necessary land has not yet acquired by the state government. “The port needs approximately 1,000 acres of land, but so far, nothing has happened on this front,” highly placed sources said. The state government has expressed its inability to fund land acquisition as it is hard up for money. This made the Centre come out with an offer of funding the land acquisition and asked the latter to begin the process but the state government has not come around to it. “The state government’s priorities are different. For us it may be important but for the state which is the agency for land acquisition, it does not appear to be on its priorities list,” a senior BJP leader said, adding that unless the state government acquires the land and hands it over to the Centre, we cannot do anything. Dugarajapatnam Port is a proposed seaport under the control of the Union government. It was estimated to cost `8,000 crore and it is proposed to be set up under Indian Companies Act 1956 with equity participation from the state government. When the project was envisaged during the erstwhile Congress regime in the state, it ran into rough whether with objections being raised as Pulicat Lake and ISRO’s rocket launching station at Srihari Kota are very close by. There was objection from...

GJ: Farmers protest land acquisition for industrial hub

Farmers in Gujarat’s Dholera region, about 100 km from Ahmedabad, are fiercely opposed to their agricultural land being taken away for an ambitious industrial project backed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.The Dholera Special Investment Region was announced by the state government in 2009. Spread over 920 square kilometer area, the project aims to create a global manufacturing and trading hub in the state.Despite protest by the farmers, the state government carried out surveys and land acquisition in the area. In October last year, notices were sent to the villagers informing them that their land was being acquired. While the state government has been maintaining a silence over the issue, the district administration says the villagers would be adequately...

TN: Villagers protest land acquisition for Tiruvallur reservoir project

Amidst opposition from villagers, the Water Resources Department (WRD) is looking to expedite the creation of a reservoir in Thervoy Kandigai and Kannankottai villages in Tiruvallur district to store and supply water to Chennai. A major chunk of the necessary land has been acquired.With nearly 750 acres of patta lands handed over for the project, the WRD plans to start the major work of linking the two water bodies in Thervoy Kandigai and Kannankottai to form a reservoir. This would hold 1,000 million cubic feet of water when filled twice.The WRD and Tiruvallur district administration have been facing protests from the villagers, particularly in Kannankottai. Of the 800 acres of patta lands needed for the Rs. 330 crore project, nearly 600 acres fall in Kannankottai village. Last week, the department started the process of providing interim compensation to land owners in these villages, officials...

MH: Raigad farmers to protest forceful land acquisition

Farmers from 78 villages of Mangaon, Roha and Tala tehsil in Raigad district will be protesting on Wednesday against the alleged forceful land acquisition for Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. The farmers, who are organized under the banner of Anti-Corridor Struggle Action Committee, will protest the acquisition of 67,500 acres for the Dighi Port Industrial area in Raigad district. They claim that the agitation is to save their agricultural land and livelihoods. They will march to the Sub Divisional Office of the land acquisition authority located at Mangoan in the morning.A member of the committee, Ulka Mahajan said, “The project will render farmers from 78 villages landless and also snatch away their allied livelihood. All the panchayats have unanimously resolved not to give away their land. They have been agitating for 18 months.” She added that the Central government and the then-CEO of the DMIC asked the state government to drop Dighi Port from DMIC project. Despite this move, the state government is acquiring the land, ‘without the consent of the land...