People whose lands are acquired for mega projects should get jobs in, or equity shares of, the new industries established on those lands, says a government proposal in an effort to end the opposition to Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
In a policy note circulated to all other ministries, the Rural Development Ministry has suggested that one person from each displaced family should be given employment in the company which acquires the land. If a job cannot be provided, shares equivalent in value to at least 20 per cent of the agriculture wage earned in 750 days should be given as compensation.
If the land is to be used to build houses on, the family should get an apartment in the project area. If an irrigation project is planned there, the compensation should be fishing rights.
The proposal is aimed at ending the sort of unrest seen in Nandigram and Singur over land acquisition by the West Bengal government to create SEZs, or agitations over the displacement of people as in the Narmada Dam project.
It has been proposed that the entire compensation package be disbursed before work on the project begins. The compensation, including relocation cost, must be decided in consultation with the person whose land is being acquired, the policy note says.
The note on the new National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy has asked for suggestions from other ministries. After the process is completed, the proposal will be put up before the cabinet for approval, with suitable changes.