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Law academic secures prestigious research grant

Press release   •   Sep 18, 2020 14:09 BST

Professor Gita Gill from Northumbria University, Newcastle, has been awarded a British Academy Grant to investigate the impact of compulsory land acquisition on poor communities for major infrastructure projects.

The research project is entitled "Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Vulnerable Poor Communities: Criticalities and Scrutiny of Law in Gujarat, India".

Compulsory land acquisition in India for key developmental projects is contentious. It has far-reaching implications regarding rehabilitation and resettlement of vulnerable poor communities leading to involuntary-displacement and non-consideration of human rights.

Northumbria Law School’s Professor Gill will investigate the reach, effectiveness and impact of rehabilitation and resettlement provisions in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 (LARR Act). Gujarat’s Bullet-Train project (Ahmedabad-Mumbai Corridor) is the rehabilitation and resettlement empirical case-study involving fieldwork in Ahmedabad and Surat. The research project will be undertaken in collaboration with a leading local grass-roots non-governmental organisation Paryavaran Mitra (Ahmedabad).

Commenting on the work Professor Gill said “compulsory land acquisition and ineffective rehabilitation and resettlement can have a traumatic impact on affected vulnerable poor communities whose lives and livelihoods are intimately connected with the land. The potential of the research will be realised by empowering key actors (affected vulnerable communities, village-councils and civil society) to create equitable economic, environmentally-sustainable, social pathways that reduce vulnerabilities of significant numbers of affected citizens”.

Professor John Wilson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria, added: “Securing a British Academy grant is a significant achievement and reflects both the quality and impact of Professor Gill’s work and Northumbria’s growing reputation as an international centre for research excellence. I congratulate her on this success.”

Professor Gill’s application to the British Academy 2020 round of research grants was one of almost 800 - out of which the success rate was just 17%. It is her second British Academy Grant. Professor Gill’s British Academy Grant 2014 investigated the working, effectiveness and environmental jurisprudence of the National Green Tribunal of India (NGT). In 2017, her research findings and conclusions were published inher book Environmental Justice in India: The National Green Tribunal (Routledge UK) and in 2019 it was translated into Chinese. 

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