Jammu, Aug 25: Multi-departmental committee, constituted by the Collector Land Acquisition, will give preference to State or government land; common land; waste or arid land which may be suitable for the public purposes and such land will be the first priority for acquisition.
Land acquisition under urgency provisions may get exemption from undertaking Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study, however, for that the Collector will have to submit a report to the government seeking permission (to invoke the urgency provisions) giving cogent reasons.
These provisions form part of “J&K Right to Fair Compensation in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Social Impact Assessment and Consent) Rules, 2023” notified by the J&K Revenue Secretary Dr Piyush Singla on August 24, 2023.
Rules have been made by the J&K government, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 109 of “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Act 30 of 2013)”, after considering suggestions received in respect of the draft notification.
Draft rules namely “The Jammu and Kashmir Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Social Impact Assessment and Consent) Rules, 2022” were notified vide notification SO 313 dated June 24, 2022 and published in the Jammu and Kashmir official Gazette, extra ordinary, Vol 135 dated June 24, 2022 as required under section 112 of “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Act 30 of 2013)”, for inviting objections or suggestions from the persons likely to be affected thereby, within a period of 15 days from the date of the publication of the said notification in the official Gazette.
Rules specify that whenever land in any area is required or likely to be required for public purpose, the Requiring Body or its authorized representative, for whom land is to be acquired will file the request to the concerned District Collector in the specified form with a Detailed Project Report; sanction letter of the project; details of the land required along with map of the area and information about the classification of land i.e., irrigated multi-cropped, single cropped, wasteland, etc (if available). Requisition should be endorsed to the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Commissioner if any rehabilitation plan is involved.
In case of acquisition for government departments (Central and UT) the requisition will be filed by the Administrative Secretary or authorized representative (not below the rank of HoD) of the concerned department or Ministry and in case of Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) by the Administrative Secretary of the department dealing with such undertaking.
On receipt of the requisition under sub rule (1) of rule 3, the Collector will constitute a committee consisting of officers from Revenue, Agriculture, Forest, Jal Shakti, Irrigation &, Flood Control, Horticulture, Rural Development, PW (R&B) departments or any other department as the Collector deems necessary to visit the spot along with the representatives of requiring body to “make a preliminary enquiry regarding availability of State or government land or common land; waste or arid land which may be suitable for the public purposes to be given preference and first priority.”
The committee will also enquire into correctness of the particulars furnished in the requisition; bare minimum land required for the project and whether the request is consistent with the provisions of the Act or not. As per the rules, the committee would submit a report to the Collector that the indenting department was offered State or government land at various locations for the proposed acquisition and “have not found any suitable land and agreed to the proposed land which serves the public purpose.”
It will recommend that there is no State or government or common land available which will serve the public purpose and there is only option to acquire the proposed patch of land, which also includes private land. The Collector will submit a report to the District Collector for issuing notification for commencement of consultation and conduct of Social Impact Assessment (SIA).
Administrative cost of acquisition of lands for the Requiring Body to be deposited to the Collector should be equal to 2.5 percent of the amount of compensation which will be deposited by the Requiring Body along with the requisition or indent to the Collector.
ACQUISITION UNDER URGENCY PROVISIONS AND EXEMPTION FROM SIA STUDY
Rules mention that where any land is proposed to be acquired by Requiring Body by invoking urgency provisions under section 9 read with section 40 of the Act and if it is considered expedient to do so and if such urgency falls within the purview of section 40 (2), the Collector will submit a report to the government seeking permission to invoke the urgency provisions giving cogent reasons and for exemption from undertaking Social Impact Assessment study in such acquisition.
SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT STUDY
“The report of the committee shall be as SIA report if no displacement or rehabilitation is involved.— where no involuntary displacement of persons due to acquisition of land with no adverse impact, and no rehabilitation is involved, then the Collector shall obtain report of the committee as constituted under sub-rule (1) of rule 4 along with the consent of the interested persons (at least 70 percent) which shall be considered as SIA Report and in such cases the Collector shall proceed for issuance of preliminary notification under section 11 of the Act within seven days,” it has been ordered.
The SIA study will be conducted in consultation with the concerned Panchayat, Municipality, Municipal Corporation as the case may be, at village level and ward level in the affected area for the purpose of section 4 of the Act.
Environmental Impact Assessment Study where required will be carried out simultaneously taking into consideration the impact of the project likely on each component of environment and ecology. The Government may identify or establish an independent organization, which shall be responsible for ensuring that Social Impact Assessments are commissioned and conducted as per the provisions of the Act and Rules.
Rules provide that the government may also nominate J&K Institute of Management, Public Administration and Rural Development (IMPARD) to provide institutional support and facilitation for conducting of SIA.
The SIA must provide a conclusive assessment of the balance and distribution of the adverse social impacts and social costs and benefits of the proposed project and land acquisition, including the mitigation measures, and provide an assessment as to whether the benefits from the proposed project exceed the social costs and adverse social impacts that are likely to be experienced by the affected families or even after the proposed mitigation measures, the affected families remained at risk of being economically or socially worse, as a result of the said land acquisition and resettlement.
Public hearings will be held in the affected areas to bring out the main findings of the SIA, seeking feedback on the findings and to seek additional information and views for incorporating the same in the final documents.
Appraisal of Social Impact Assessment report will be done by an Expert Group, which will be an independent multi-disciplinary group. The government will examine the Social Impact Assessment report, the recommendations of the Expert Group and the report of the Collector and decide such areas for acquisition which would ensure minimum displacement of people, minimum disturbance to the infrastructure, environment, ecology and minimum adverse impact on the individuals affected.
The rules specify that the Collector will obtain prior consent of the affected land-owners in specified form along with the SIA study. He may constitute a team of officers under his control to assist him in the process of obtaining the prior consent.
The Collector will in consultation with the representatives of the Gram Panchayats of District Development Councils notify the date, timing and venue for holding special Gram Sabha in the affected areas one week in advance and conduct public awareness campaigns to motivate members of the Gram Sabha to participate in the Gram Sabha.
The quorum shall be at least one third of the total members of the Gram Sabha for considering the consent as valid provided that one third of the total women members of the Gram Sabha will also be present in the Gram Sabha meeting.
For public private partnership projects and projects by private companies, representatives of the Requiring Body, who are competent to take decisions and negotiate terms of Rehabilitation and Resettlement and compensation will be present at all such Gram Sabha meetings and respond to the queries raised by the Gram Sabha members.
Any resolution that does not explicitly contain a statement of consent to the project, a statement of the negotiated terms of compensation and Rehabilitation and Resettlement will be invalid.
In Public Private Partnership projects and projects by private companies, a list of all affected land-owners from whom consent is required to be obtained will be drawn up by the Collector in consultation with the Social Impact Assessment team.
In case of any objection, the views of the objector will also be taken, and the reasons for doing so will be recorded in writing and conveyed to the concerned person within seven days.
The Collector will also make a Rehabilitation and Resettlement Award for each affected family in accordance with rules and handover family wise awards to each affected family.
REHABILITATION, RESETTLEMENT COMMITTEES
Rules provide that where land proposed to be acquired is equal to or more than one hundred acres, the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Committee at Project Level constituted under section 45 of the Act will follow the specified procedure.
The government may constitute a State Monitoring Committee, as required under section 50 of the Act for the purpose of Rehabilitation and Resettlement.
REVERSION OF LAND TO LAND BANK
Any land acquired under the Act, if remains unutilized for a period of five years from the date of taking over possession, the same will be returned to the original owners or their legal heirs as the case may be, or the Land Bank of the government in accordance with the provisions contained in section 101 of the Act by issuing a notice to the Requiring Body for whom the land was acquired and by giving opportunity of being heard and by passing necessary written order by the government in this behalf, though with certain riders.
The reversion will be considered only as a whole in respect of all the lands described in the notification under section 11 of the Act and not in parts. The compensation paid to the erstwhile land owners excluding Solatium will be returned by them.
However, the government, from time to time, as per the requirement and in the interest of the public may amend these rules by a notification published in the Jammu and Kashmir Official Gazette.
Rules will come into force on and from the date of their publication in the official Gazette.