*R&R Policy, can it be an excuse for more displacement?*
The issue of the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) policy has been
hotly debated of late within the corridors of power, in the context of
Special Ecnomic Zone (SEZ) embargo. Since the Prime Minister, Manmohan
Singh, made his statement at the FICCI seminar, the news is that the SEZs
are being kept on hold in order to finalise the R&R Policy. According to
the PM, that was to be done within 3 months, hence, within the next few
days from now. Sitaram Yechury, CPM leader also has openly voiced his
support to SEZs recently, but also for finalization of R&R policy. This
push however may land up not in a fair and just R&R policy, nor it is to
ensure actual implementation of R&R policy.
Many who have been watching news, statements and gestures might consider it
as a humane intervention to resolve the conflict between the State and the
people, as it erupted from one SEZ area to another, from Maharashtra to
It may however be noted that UPA government is trying to push a very weak
R&R policy ignoring and sidelining the Draft proposed by People's
organizations which, though after few modifications, was also accepted and
approved by National Advisory Council (NAC), chaired by Sonia Gandhi.
We want not only a rehabilitation policy but a policy on Development
Planning, to be brought after abolition of Land Acquisition Act because
any or every family to be displaced, can there be real rehabilitation? This
question has been asked, time and again, by thousands of those, who have
been displaced. Teams of representatives of people's organizations have met
the Minister of Rural Development and made him aware of the flaws and
drawbacks of the proposed policy while no political party has looked into
the proposed policy draft or the one submitted by people's organizations
that discusses at length- how to minimize displacement and to plan use of
resources with most appropriate technology.
We urge all those who are concerned about displacement and displaced
people, but also of development, to support our demand of no land
acquisition and an
act on Development Planning, Minimum Displacement and Just Rehabilitation.
Please write accordingly, to the concerned authorities (addresses are below).
Please also see the attached document, laying out the ratonale for such a
policy, a critical assessment of the Draft National Rehab Policy of 2006,
including an October 2006 letter to the Minister for Rural Development.
Medha Patkar Simpreet Singh
*Important Addresses *
1). Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, UPA,
Fax No- 011-23018626
2). Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Minister for Rural Development
8, Ashoka Road,
New Delhi-110 001
Tel. (011) 3386093