The finance department of Chandigarh Administration notified in November 2018 that it was in the process of acquiring 17.8 acres of land in Dhanas (5.57 acres) and Dadu Majra (12.23 acres) villages. This was to connect Dakshin Marg in Chandigarh to PR-4 road along the Chandigarh-Punjab border. The length of the proposed road is about 1.8 kilometres. In the notification for the land acquisition, which was issued on June 11, 2018, the government shared that the Social Impact Assessment for the project had already been conducted and accordingly, 110 families had been identified whose agricultural land would be acquired. It stated that no family would be displaced. Under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, even if land acquisition does not involve displacement, the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) scheme in a project must mention the impacts, details of consultations conducted and compensation. The R&R scheme for this project mentioned** **that the land was being acquired for public purpose i.e. building a road and not for urbanisation. The land acquisition has been challenged in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana by those who have lost their lands. The petitioners (a Jaspal Singh and others) have contended that the government is trying to implement an urbanisation project in the garb of land acquisition for public purpose to deny land losers their right to 20 per cent of the developed land in case of urbanisation, as stipulated in Schedule II of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. To support their case, the petitioners challenged the stated purpose of the project by highlighting that an alternate route of Dhanas-Mullanpur-Siswan connecting Punjab to Dakshin Marg in Chandgarh is only two kilometres away from the proposed land acquisition site, so the objective of the project is urbanisation and not connectivity. A single-judge bench forwarded the petition to the Chief Justice suggesting that the case be heard as a public interest litigation. The petitioners also state that for the first time, the land acquisition is being initiated without updating the revenue record of the land in question. They claim that the records have not been updated for decades. Updating of records before any land acquisition is a standard practice of the revenue department to inform the public about the rights of ownership over the land. As of October 1, 2019, the Chandigarh Administration declared Dhanas and Dadu Majra as Resettlement Areas for the R&R scheme. It calculated the compensation amount for the residents of Dhanas at the rate of INR 1.88 crore per acre and INR 1.15 crore per acre for the residents of Dadu Majra. The petitioners suspect that the Chandigarh Administration issued the policy for land acquisition through negotiation just before the acquisition to avoid paying fair compensation to the land owners as prescribed under the Land Acquisition Act. On November 20, the court issued a notice of motion on the petition. Land Conflict Watch wrote to the district commissioner to get a response on the petitioners' claims, but no contact could be established.
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Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Controversial land acquisition by the government , Land-record discrepancies
Name(s) of Court(s)
High Court of Punjab and Haryana
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