This study is an attempt to understand the lived experience of people affected by land use change and related conflicts. Equally, if not more importantly, this research seeks to analyse what affected people do when such conflicts arise. What are the strategies they adopt and what kinds of remedies do they seek? Further, what drives these choices? Section 1 looks at the nature of land governance in India, including how land area has been classified and administered. It also presents a quick read of the history of land reforms in the country, especially in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. The next section presents an overview of the constitutional and legal provisions through which land use change is permitted and regulated. Section 3 is a detailed account of land use change as permitted through the environment clearances under the EIA notification, 2006. Since there is no comprehensive account of land use change available on government record, the land area approved for the use of industrial, mining or infrastructure projects has been analysed through the collation of primary data.
For the purposes of this study, land use change is defined as planned government policy induced land transformations for industrialisation and development. This does not include land use changes due to conservation projects, natural disasters or other social disruptions such as communal conflicts. The study focuses on conflicts caused by the anticipated or unanticipated environmental and social impacts of these projects that are undertaken without prior informed consent and/or the provision of due compensations, and abetted by the failure of administrative or judicial remedies.
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