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Supreme Court pulls up Mayawati govt on land acquisition policy

The Supreme Court today slammed the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh for acquiring 157 acres of land in Greater Noida for giving to builders, pointing out it seemed to be working only for builders and developers at the risk of ruining five generations of farmers.

A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly repeatedly asked the government why it had invoked the emergency clause denying farmers an opportunity to raise objection against the forcible acquisition of their land.

The judges told the UP government counsel, "The government is working for a particular section (builders and developers) of society. Villages after villages are being acquired and the land is being handed over to the builders."

"Farmers and landowners are getting only batons and litigation in the name of development and public purpose. Next five generations of the farmers are being ruined and uprooted".

"The land acquisition policy is anti-people and the people are being forced to commit suicide because of the oppression, the people are being subjected to forcible acquisition of their land and the Land Acquisition Act 1894 required immediate amendment and the government has no moral authority to talk about the common man," it said.

The apex court is hearing the appeals of UP government, Greater Noida Development Authority (GNDA) and some builders against the order of Allahabad High Court which had declared as illegal the acquisition of 157 acres of land in Shahbari village, Greater Noida.

The Supreme Court's ruling came on the day when Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is stopping over at the twin villages of Bhatta and Parsaul as he began a march in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Gandhi had joined the farmers' agitation against land acquisition and courted arrest in these twin villages last month.

His protest march to Aligarh takes place ahead ahead of next year's assembly polls in the Hindi heartland state where the Congress takes on Ms Mayawati.

The Supreme Court had also slammed the Mayawati government earlier and said the farmers’ agitation in Greater Noida should not lead to another Nandigram-like violence.

"We will not keep our eyes closed. You take it from one side and give it to the other. This has to go and if it does not go this court will step in to ensure that. It is development of one section of the society only," the court had told the Mayawati government last month.

"Whose residential use are these flats for? Who is building them? What are the prices? We want to go into details of the case. This urgency clause is not automatically invoked...We do not want more Nandigrams in all states," the apex court said.

The UP government was to acquire 170 hectares of land at Gulistan village in Greater Noida for industrial development.

Fourteen people were killed and over 100 injured on March 14, 2007, when police opened fire on a crowd protesting land acquisition for a special economic zone in West Bengal's Nandigram.

NNN

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