Smart City Other Project Land Procurement Strategy Procedures-Vidur Raj

Send a notice/tender from the relevant land government department (L&DO) to all Panchayats in the state or country.

For Example:

Suggested Notice/Tender Content:-

“Appeal to villages in West Bengal: Requested 30,000 acres in one contiguous lot required by internationally known Indian steel company for their intention to set up a 5 million MT Iron & Steel plant besides other ancillary units. Land should be located near the river, roads, railway track, environmentally clean power station and iron ore mine. Additional 1000 acres may be required for setting up own power plant which will be of the highest international technological standard environmentally clean & green. It is preferred that this should be near a Coal mine. This will be converted into a smart city with the steel industry being its specialization.

Land will be possessed in the following manner:

1) Proper improved dwelling units which are clean & green to be constructed for the displaced, at the perimeters of the land parcel before any physical possession of the required land.

2) Assess each displaced unit’s (individual or family) 

Income from that piece of land. Income: Both in-kind ( grains, vegetables and fruits are grown on the family land) and in cash- generated from the sale of produce or livestock(as close to what had been internally consumed & sold in the unit before displacement.)

3) Land buyer/receiver will provide cash and kind, as income as assessed in (2) above, as soon as displacement is effected & the settled are given possession of their new dwellings. Furthermore, once the Plant/project is commissioned, adequate cash and kind will be provided but accounted as a dividend. If there is no profit, then this will be treated as a liability to this “Special Class” of original landowner equity holder’s and would have to be treated as Secured Debt with First Right to Receipt of payment as well as there would be a minimum prefixed dividend whether the project or smart city industries are profitable or not. Note: any tax implications on the displaced unit will have to be borne by the new owner of the land in question. Original Landowners will also be issued non-transferable equity in the new entity & will be entitled to normal earnings from this equity holding over & above the aforetyped “Special Class “equity holders mentioned earlier. Increments in cash & kind will be adjusted for any real inflation in the local immediate economy. These amounts payable by the smart city industries to the original landowners could be offset by a Corresponding grant or tax deduction to the project firm from The Central/State government on whole/part of the outlays amounts. Furthermore, the firm can spend some of its CSR budget towards these expenses also.

4) One or more job(s) per household displaced, can be offered, without any deduction in Cash & Kind amounts.

5) Vocational training & skilling to support the smart city requirements in some commercial activity along with microcredit to be provided, if desired by the displaced person(s)/Family(ies) to build support facilities to the smart city. For e.g: The requirements of Fresh Vegetables/fruits, poultry, milk & milk products etc of the entire project’s personnel can be given to the ex Landowners community to deliver in a professional & organized/cooperative manner.

6) If the land of the displaced unit is mortgaged; irrespective of the loan being from a private lender or bank/other institution, then this loan’s balance, effective just prior to possession, must be repaid fully to transfer the land to the new owner with a clear title. (Note: There might be mischief here especially in a loanee/private loaner nexus).”

Upon receiving the notice/tender, villages which fit the requirements as per the above-mentioned requirements will decide amongst themselves, whether they would be willing to “give” their land in a manner as is described in the notice/tender; and thereafter, having decided to volunteer their lands would engage the relevant government machinery/department entity via its Panchayats (especially so, in these times of Panchayati Raj), or legal representative(s), to begin the process of the relevant land transfer to the would-be buyer of the entire 31,000 acres.

To start the process instead of fencing the land which would be exchanged by the villagers as a result of this engagement between the village and the land buyer via the government land department, it would be better if one laid the foundation stone for the dwelling units which would replace the displaced people’s original dwelling units, and build this building(s) first.

Once people see this building(s) come up, and these surveys (re consumption/production…cash & kind payments etc) executed, or intended to be executed, automatically; the entire targeted amount of land should become available….landowners will come to the Buyer of the land via the government land department (L&DO); instead of playing an “unfair game” with existing landowners and making the State fight its own citizens by making the state dispossess its citizens of their lands without proper and fair compensation. I assume you would agree that if the land was possessed as per the above manner of compensation, you would agree that the compensation offered for the land is fair and adequate. 

It is to be noted that landowners have been using their lands for ages and eking a livelihood however good or bad it was, and as the families grew in terms of family members the earning were diluted. By just paying cash to these landowners who normally are not that money savvy would drive those to spend the monies so received, and thereafter, they would be landless as well as penniless. This may drive them to crime or other untoward activities which would degrade the smart city. If the land exchanges hands in the suggested manner there also will be no regrets about being dispossessed of the land by the original landowners in the future.

If the land is taken over in the manner described then the landowner will get a steady income from his/her ancestral lands and will continuously do so for generations to come also.

If no one responds to the notice/tender it would be best that NO land is allocated for the subject project in West Bengal & an alternate state located in the country be considered in the same manner.

NOTE: This is just an example only.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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