No lessons learnt from Singur, Nandigram: Azmi

Lucknow: Cautioning that incidents like in Greater Noida are bound to happen if authorities don't learn from similar episodes in Nandigram and Singur, actress-activist Shabana Azmi on Wednesday demanded greater focus on relief and rehabilitation of displaced people during land acquisition.

"If lessons are not learnt from Singur and Nandigram then such things are bound to happen," she said when asked about farmers unrest in western Uttar Pradesh over land acquisition.

"Focus should be given on relief and rehabilitation work and people, whose land is being acquired should be made the part of the development," Azmi told reporters here.

She said that people, whose land is being acquired, should be made stakeholders and employment to them or their family members should be ensured.

"Compensation should be fair. Money as compensation will not work, it should be land for land," she said.

Nandigram in West Bengal saw violent protests against the state government's plan to acquire land for a chemical hub two years ago while similar agitation in Singur led to shifting of the Tata Nano factory.

Azmi said that rehabilitation should be a part of the acquisition process.

"A balance should be maintained and there should be a dialogue. The question is not whether the land acquisition policy is good or not, the question is whether a person is giving his land willingly or not," her husband and lyricist Javed Akhtar said.

Azmi said that it is a big challenge as the country heads towards growth and land is required to develop infrastructure.

"But if justice is not done then it will lead to chaos. People, whose land is being acquired should get maximum benefit of the progress," she said.

Akhtar said that while ensuring industrial growth, agriculture should also be modernised.

On the issue of corruption, Aami said the people were united in fighting against it which was an indicator that they were fed up with the menace.

"Though I have been associated with anti-corruption drive, but I was not expecting that the result would come so soon. Lokpal Bill could be a big medium," she said.

Azmi and Akhtar were in the city to inaugurate newly constructed auditorium at All India Kaifi Azmi Academy named after her father.

"We have lot of plans for the academy including launching a new course," Azmi, who launched the official website of the academy, said.

She claimed that the Rs 93 lakh given by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2007 for the academy were not being released by the Lucknow Municipal Corporation.

"We will talk with the government and will raise the issue before the Governor," she said.