Draft of new bill on land acquisition ready

Last Updated: Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 20:15

New Delhi: Amid a raging controversy over
land acquisition norms, government has firmed up the draft of
a new bill which makes consent of 80 per cent of land owners
mandatory before purchase of land.

The new draft Acquisition Bill, which is expected to be
unveiled in the next few days, includes recommendations of
Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) and goes even
a step further.

"In many ways it is an improvement of what the NAC has
said," NC Saxena, a prominent member in the Sonia Gandhi-led
panel, said after a discussion on the draft bill chaired by
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh here on Sunday.

"It has improved upon the NAC`s recommendation because
we had suggested 70 per cent and they (Rural Development
Ministry) are now saying 80 per cent (land owners) should say
yes to the acquisition," Saxena said.

Asked whether the Ministry has approved the NAC`s
recommendation that government must acquire 100 per cent land,
Saxena said NAC had never recommended that.

"NAC`s recommendation was enabling up to 100 per cent
(land acquisition). It didn`t say that you have to (acquire)
100 per cent (land)," he said.

Further clarifying that the proposed legislation is not
a "compelling law," Saxena said, "This is enabling law, which
means depending upon the project, depending upon the state
government`s viewpoint, the state government may acquire zero
per cent or 100 per cent or any amount in between".

There is a raging controversy over land acquisition in
Greater Noida where farmers have been staging protests
demanding higher compensation, prompting the Government to
speed up efforts to bring in a land bill.

The Ministry also agreed to NAC`s another recommendation
to integrate in one bill provisions for both land acquisition
and rehabilitation.

"There will be one bill which will cover both acquisition
for government purposes as well as for private companies but
(when) land is to be given to private companies, then 80 per
cent people must say yes and we increase the compensation to
six times the registered value," Saxena said.

The NAC member said the "landless"-- those who depend on
the acquired land for their livelihood-- will also be
benefited. "They will get Rs 2000 per month for 20 years,"
Saxena said.

He said the bill will have an "emergency clause" for
acquiring land for security purposes.

"Only when the security of the people is involved, then
we will cover it under the emergency clause. And we decided
that whenever more than 100 acres of land are acquired, 26
amenities would be given including roads, power, housing,
playground etc," he said.

The committee has also recommended that those who have
been displaced because of land acquisition should be given
Rs 3000 per month for at least a year, he said.

Saxena said there would be a "special provision" in the
bill for Scheduled Tribes whose land would be acquired for the
project.

"They would get minimum one acre of land wherever land is
acquired and everyone will get one acre of land those who are
losing their land if it is for irrigation project," he said.

"But for all projects, Scheduled Tribes, because they are
dependent on land and in order to discourage acquisition of
land in tribal areas, we are suggesting that every ST family
should get one acre of land," Saxena said.

The draft bill is expected to be placed in public domain
this week after another round of consultations.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 19:28

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