Parliamentary Panel expresses concern over unresolved land acquisition cases

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JAMMU: The Standing Committee on Defence has expressed concern over the highest number of unresolved cases of land acquisition in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir. The panel in its report presented both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in February this year stated that Arunachal Pradesh and J&K UT have maximum number of unresolved cases with 117 and 308 cases respectively.

The Committee noted that a mechanism was put in place for coordinating between the Ministry/Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and respective governments to resolve the issues such as land acquisition, forest/ wild life clearances, lack of quarries, law and order problems, etc. which were impacting adversely the construction schedules of BRO leading to delays in the completing border roads.

So far five States/UTs viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Sikkim and Tripura have constituted such committees. The Committee noted that of all the five States/UTs, the Empowered Committee of Sikkim met five times since 2015 to discuss and resolve various issues adversely affecting the completion of border roads. Similarly, the Empowered Committees of Arunachal Pradesh and J&K UT where a number of land acquisition cases are pending have not met since 15 June and 7 May 2015 respectively.

“In respect of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where 32 and 4 respectively of land acquisition cases are pending, these Empowered Committees seem to have not met for a long time. The Committee appreciates that the empowered Committee of Sikkim met five times since 2015 to discuss various border roads related issues However, in many states where a large number of land acquisition cases are pending J&K and Arunachal Pradesh have met only once since 2015”, Parliamentary Panel report said.

“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not furnished any information on the meetings of these Empowered Committees in Himachal Pradesh. The Committee therefore are of the view that the Empowered Committee mechanism is not working effectively as it should be and accordingly recommend that specific steps should be taken to rejuvenate this body”, it added.

The Committee in their earlier recommendation had desired that as the Empowered Committees mechanism was not working effectively and specific steps should be taken to rejuvenate this body to enable it to play a more active role in resolving various issues concerning border roads. This recommendation was given in the context of all the Empowered Committees constituted in the J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, HP, Sikkim and Tripura.