ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Modifying the Terms of Compensation

The Uttar Pradesh government makes compensation for land acquisition more generous, but is that enough?

Intense protests by farmers agitating in the Greater Noida region of Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh (up) against acquisition of lush agricultural land for the “Yamuna Expressway” project finally compelled the Bahujan Samaj Party government last month to announce a new land acquisition policy. The ruling government’s hand was also forced by the support to the agitations from various opposition parties, whose representatives landed in droves to “lead” the protests. In an attempt to mollify anger about unfair compensation rates currently in place, the new policy sees the government playing a less prominent role and more generous terms of compensation for farmers whose lands are acquired, but the policy is not based on any holistic framework on land use and acquisition.

Over the years, governments in up have been enamoured by the prospects of sustained “development” in the western areas adjoining the National Capital Region of Delhi. In the late 1990s, farmers close to the Greater Noida area had initially bought into the negotiated settlement model of land sales to the government, under which compensation was paid based on transacted values. More than a decade later, farmers along the Yamuna Expressway have, however, expressed their resentment at what are now low rates of compensation compared to what the infrastructure companies will eventually reap from road and real estate development.

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