MSEZ: KIADB’s acquisition notice violates SC directive

Mangalore, June 2: Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) served a land acquisition notice to the Kudubis, tribal community members and other residents of Kudubipadavu in Permude gram panchayat of Mangalore taluk, violating the Supreme Court’s (SC) directive. The KIADB had served 28(6) notice to villagers in Kudubipadavu asking them to surrender around 15.34 acres land to authorities for setting up the second phase of Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ). It is to be noted here that the MSEZ Limited so far, had not received the mandatory clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for setting up the second phase of SEZ. The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was also not carried out for the project. It can be recalled here that the Apex Court, in a civil petition against KIADB on May 12, 2006 had decreed that the EIA should be conducted before the acquisition of the land. And the clearance should be obtained from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board before the land was earmarked for development purposes. But, the KIADB, ignoring the SC decree, had served the notice to the villagers, asking them to surrender their land for the project. The MSEZL has not assigned any agency so far to conduct the EIA for the second phase of the project. It will take another year to complete an accurate EIA since the study should be conducted in 2,035 acres of land and should cover all the seasons. A resident of Kudubipadavu, Giriya Gowda, who is a member of Kudubi community, says that he received a notice from KIADB on May 8 at around 6 pm. The Illiterate villagers, who did not understand the seriousness of the notice ignored it. But the gravity of the note was realised when they knew that the notice served on May 8, 2008 to them was dated April 4, 2008 . Following this, on May 9, the officials of MSEZ had tried to carry out survey on the land, which was opposed by the villagers and a police case was also registered at Bajpe police station in connection with this. On May 12, the MSEZL also conducted a Bhoomi Pooja for the relocation of temples from the notified land. Kudubi family members and Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samiti, in a letter written to the Special Land Acquisition Officer (SLAO) of KIADB on April 22, 2008, reminded that the residents had objected to the land acquisition orally to the then SLAO on July 6, 2007 itself. They also had urged the authorities to withdraw the notification with immediate effect.
When this newspaper contacted SLAO of KIADB, Prabhulinga Kavalakatti, informing that the acquisition notice had violated the SC directives, he replied; “you should ask my higher authorities regarding the issue. I am merely following the instructions of the higher authorities.” Villagers prevent work
Around 50 villagers stopped the Engineers India Limited from carrying out the groundwork on the plot leased out for a public sector oil reserve company by the MSEZL at Kalavaru near here on Wednesday. The ISPRL, a subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board of the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, had taken over 82.62 acres of land for Rs. 50 lakh per acre on lease from MSEZL to set up a strategic crude oil reserve of 1.5 MMT capacity in Mangalore. The MSEZL, infact, had acquired the land from the villagers paying Rs.8lakh per acre for setting up of the first phase of SEZ. On Wednesday, the Engineers India Limited officials with workers arrived at Kalavaru with explosives to start the ground work. However, the villagers gathered at the area opposed the use of explosives, pointing out that the building structures located close to the vicinity might be damaged.
Vinobha K T/ENS


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