Lands / Rights – Acquisition & Compensation there for

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Lands / Rights – Acquisition & Compensation there for

by Maj P. Tuhinikar Choudary (Retd) (Mob: +91 98480 47477)

Chairman – Institute for Democratic & Economic Affairz (IDEAz)


Development at many times calls for acquisition of Property, curtailment of some Rights, of the people affected. It cannot be anyone’s rational argument that we deny development or leave resources unexploited. We should only seek to do so with equitable compensation to those affected and ensure least amount of environmental damage and also proper reclamation of the land.


Acquisition of any Property or Rights must be accompanied by grant of adequate compensation – Rights cannot be assumed, they must be clear and evident – Vague claims of a few cannot be used to deny development benefits to the many – People must be properly informed of the alternatives to allow them to choose correctly.

Quotation for consideration:

“One economic study found that in order to save the 5,000 northern spotted owls from the threat of extinction, by keeping the environment untouched in a particular forest area in the US North West, costed US $466 bn (i.e, $9 mn per owl) in lost economic cost. Couldn’t another more cost effective solution be found?” – Anon.

“The Rights of  persons and the Rights of Property are the objects for the protection of which Government was instituted.” – James Madison

Key Concepts:

Many a time, the Government would need to acquire property for Public use or even for sale to private parties for Industrial or Commercial development, which would also overall benefit the Community or the Country, as otherwise interested parties may encourage some of the land or property owners to be like ‘a dog in the manger’ or even seek for extra benefit. Such acquisition would be theft by the Government unless properly compensated for.

  • For wealth to be created new sources of natural / mineral resources have to be located, extracted and utilized. It cannot be any one’s rational argument, in a country with an ever increasing population, to leave such resources unexploited.
  • Obviously such resources will mostly now be found, in up to now largely unexplored / undeveloped regions, which are forested / coastal / environmentally undisturbed and are occupied by Tribals / Adivasis / Wild life. The resources in other areas have obviously already been exploited.
  • Operations for extraction and benefication of such resources are by their very nature very disruptive of the environment and of the local population / wildlife.
  • Hence ways must be found to do so with the least amount of such disruption and ensuring reclamation of the land to environmentally acceptable and wildlife friendly standards once the extraction is over and more importantly, ways to suitably compensate the Tribals / Adivasis / Populations affected.
  • Should we allow the Tribals / Adivasis the right of informed choice or arrogate to ourselves the right to choose for them?

Should we allow the Tribals / Adivasis the right of informed choice or arrogate to ourselves the right to choose for them?

To believe that the Tribals / Adivasis are, only by virtue of living therein for generations, the best conservators of the Forest / Environment is to not know the history of others like them, of the Easter Islanders, Anasazis etc (refer “Collapse” by Jared Diamond). We should keep in mind that such people may be ignorant of modern life, but that they are quite capable of understanding the options, if properly informed about them, and making the choice best for them. They, and their culture, are not museum exhibits and no outsider should arrogate to himself the right to choose for them.

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