CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has established a Land Acquisition Agency of Tamil Nadu (LAATAN) in an effort to expedite land acquisition works for all infrastructure projects in the State.
The agency will effectively monitor the land acquisition (LA) activities such as periodical monitoring of LA status, coordination between departments, obtaining funds for LA, and monitoring cases. Currently, work is on to acquire 20,000 hectares of land for various schemes of the State and Union governments.
According to a Government Order issued on March 1, the agency will comprise 40 posts with 10 under Tamil Nadu Social Impact Assessment (TNSIA) Unit, 13 from Rehabilitation and Resettlement Unit and 17 under the Core Cell of the LAATAN.
The TNSIA unit was formed under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR act 2013). The compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement and other amenities for the landowners are being determined under RFCTLARR 2013.
Social impact studies, conducted by the empanelled Social Impact Agency (SIA) under the Commissioner of Land Administration (CLA), will provide the exact number of affected families, nature of the usage of land and further rehabilitation measures required.
“Now public hearings will be conducted within the schedule as per SIA report, accordingly the compensation will be fixed after verifying the land records,” said a revenue official.
Works will be expedited in compliance with norms: Revenue official
Similarly, under the core cell of the agency, regional level supervisory units are being formed to examine the LA documents recommended by special district revenue officers (DRO) before releasing the funds. Each unit will look after the records of four to five districts.
The mechanism of secondary-level scrutiny was introduced a few months ago following malpractices in releasing funds for the proposed Chennai - Bengaluru Expressway, SIPCOT expansion in Sriperumbudur and few other projects last year.
“Now all the works related to the land acquisition have been integrated under LAATAN and the works will be expedited in compliance with the statutory norms,” added the official. A high-level steering committee headed by the Secretary to the Revenue and Disaster Management department is being formed to supervise and regularise the activities of the agency. While CLA will act as convenor, Secretaries to the Industries , Water Resource, Highways and Minor Ports, and Finance departments will function as its members.
After minor rearrangements, the State has created 55 special units headed by DROs with a staff strength of 4,575. A few crucial projects of TN for which land acquisition is in progress -- three river-linking projects, State highways’ projects, and the setting up of SIPCOT in six districts -- are in different stages.
Similarly, LA works for the railways doubling works, NHAI projects, ISRO’s Small satellite launching pad at Thoothukudi, CPCL work at Nagapattinam and NLC works at Cuddalore Neyveli Coal Mine also being taken up.
The mechanism of secondary-level scrutiny was introduced a few months ago following malpractices in releasing funds for the proposed Chennai - Bengaluru Expressway, SIPCOT expansion in Sriperumbudur