Some arguments in favour of and against the state acquisition of land for SEZ projects:
- Land acquisition can’t be left to the market forces alone, as it is unlike any other commodity and millions subsist on land for livelihood.
- There are socially important issues like fair remuneration for the land acquired, rehabilitation, providing alternative sources of income generation and employment. These can’t be decided or left alone to the market forces.
- If state moves way from this, there is no guarantee that the market forces will not use money, muscle or political power in the process to gain undue advantage.
- In view of the sensitivities attached with it, industry also, many a time will not be able to successfully complete land acquisition on its own.
- State governments have, more often than not, used the land acquisition to appropriate lands, only to serve them on a platter for private parties.
- Land should be acquired only for infrastructure projects whose benefits would directly accrue to a far larger population.
- Left to market forces, industrialization would surely shift from urban areas to rural areas; and also from fertile to barren lands. Hence it is better left to them.
- It is strange that industrialists, who want less government interference in their activities, want it to acquire land for them!!!
Some well thought out concerns expressed on land acquisition include:
- The government has used the acquisition of agricultural land as the first step in promoting industry. It should be the last resort!!!
- Farmers should be allowed to form into a group and decided whether they want to sell their land or lease it to the private industry. If they want to lease it out, the lease rentals should be indexed to the cost of living.
- If, part of the land is farmed by tenants or sharecroppers, they too should qualify for compensation and voting power, though at a lesser level than the owners.