Project Affected Person Certificate
In 1999, Maharashtra Government issued what came to be known as Project Affected Person Rehabilitation Act. To summarize the whole concept is brief:
“The Government holds the right of using any land, that it deems fit, for the purpose of irrigation, industry building, university building etc. In order to be able to do so, the government needs to uproot the local residents of the area selected and rehabilitate them in an alternative socio-economic setting.”
This sounds good because land is of course required for development. However, there are some serious issue when government issues lands that have been historically occupied as residential land by many people.
The most pressing issue is that of emotional setback for the people who are uprooted from the land they used to call home. However, yet another pressing concern is cultural displacement. While these definitely remain as the most challenging aspects of resettling people from old place to a completely new place, the real trouble pops in when it comes to keeping records of those who have been moved because of developmental projects.
Anyone can simply come up and claim that he or she has been removed from the place. This means that if records are not maintained, government may end up relocating new land resources to people who were never affected by developmental projects while depriving the genuinely affected people.
In light of this major concern, the government decided to issue what is known as project affected person certificate. This certificate is issued by government appointed resettlement officer or rehabilitation office of a district. The certificate comes in a specific format and mentions that the government acquired the land of a person who inherited the land from his or her parents or grandparents and that the person is entitled to be a beneficiary of the rehabilitation project undertaken by the government for the people who lived on the acquired land.
The government needs to specifically mention the reason for which the land has been acquired. The land can be acquired for purposes like atomic plant building, university campus, irrigation, defence project, power project etc.