Over the past 15 years, there has been a massive increase in the construction of infrastructure projects and Special Economic Zones in India. Prior to the creation of the New Act, the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 governed the major infrastructure projects while the SEZ Act is responsible for managing Special Economic Zones. After the recent enactment of the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the legislature has introduced the process of Social Impact Assessment in projects where a big mass of people are displaced. The environmental impact assessment is also completed at the same time. The paper examines the laws and case laws like the Narmada Bachao Andolan case in the light of displacement and evaluates the issues relating to the building of Special Economic Zones and Infrastructure Projects.
There were two issues. Private lands in rural areas typically suffer an impact from large projects. These rural residents lack the necessary legal documentation to demonstrate the true cost of the private land. Their way of life is also disturbed by the displacement. The need of the rural population must therefore be balanced, especially in cases of displacement brought on by SEZs. For this reason, environmental and social impact assessments are necessary.
As State has the right to acquire any private land for public purposes under eminent domain, the landowners cannot stop the state from taking the land. But presently there is a good mechanism where fair compensation is paid to the persons whose lands are used and they are rehabilitated. The problem is the actual implementation of the social impact assessment process and also carrying out proper environmental impact assessment.