Reported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Swetaparna Mohanty
Bhubaneswar, Aug 2
Prafulla Samantara, convener of Lok Shakti Abhiyan , a civil rights body on Thursday urged the state government to respect and implement Supreme Court judgment and withdraw its notification for acquisition of private land in Chendipada block of Angul district.
Briefing newsmen at Lohia Academy here, Samantara said that the State government had issued a notification to acquire 7000 acres of agricultural land several Gram Panchayats like Bagadia, Similipal, Machhakuta and Basantapur in Chhendipada. But the local people have been resisting the move to acquire their land for mining . Samantray said a three-member bench of the Supreme Court in a historic judgment on 8 July this year had ruled that mines and minerals except Uranium deposits under the surface of the land belong to the owner of land.
Samantara elaborated on para (57) of the Judgement which says: “…we are of the opinion that there is nothing in the law which declares that all mineral wealth sub soil rights vest in the state. On the other hand, the ownership of subsoil/mineral wealth should normally follow the ownership of the land, unless the owner of the land is deprived of the same by some valid process. In the instant appeals, no such deprivation is brought to our notice and therefore we hold that the appellants are the proprietors of the minerals obtained in their lands. We make it clear that we are not making any declaration regarding their liability to pay royalty to the State as that issue stands referred to a larger bench.”
“As per the Supreme Court’s judgment, the state government can not acquire private land under whose surface there are mines like coal, graphite etc. Therefore we demand to withdraw land acquisition notification in Chhendipada’, Samantray said.
More than 15000 acres of land are to be acquired for the Mahaguj colliery in Chhendipada for which Adani Group Company is the developer and operator.
Samantray alleged that the police have lodged false cases against villagers and demanded that those be withdrawn immediately.
Incidentally. The people of the affected Gram Panchayats in Chhendipada had boycotted the last Panchayat elections to protest the notification for land acquisition in favour of the colliery.