`NAC advice on Land Acquisition Bill accepted`

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 19:52

New Delhi: Quickly getting down to
business, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said
a draft Land Acquisition Bill will be placed for public debate
next week and he will come up with a separate legislation for
compensation and resettlement of affected people.

"The purpose for which the land is being acquired --
whether it is for critical infrastructure or golf courses --
are important issues that have to be discussed," he told
reporters a day after taking charge of his new ministry.

Refuting any tussle with the Sonia Gandhi-led National
Advisory Council (NAC) on the Land Acquisition Bill, Ramesh
said his ministry has accepted its recommendations for two
separate bills relating to acquisition and rehabilitation.

"We have accepted the NAC recommendations. We are
working with the NAC," he said after holding three-hour long
discussions with two NAC members on the subject.

Ramesh, who had a controversial stint as Environment
Minister, assumed charge shortly after taking oath as Cabinet
Minister at the Rashtrapati Bhawan last evening and flagged
the land acquisition bill as his priority.

"Two members of the NAC were here. There will be no
instance between our ministry and the NAC where one can say
the NAC is moving in one direction and the ministry in another
direction. This is not possible," he said.

The NAC has favoured 100 per cent land acquisition by
the government to ensure that farmers are not exploited by
middle-men.

Asked whether the Ministry has agreed for 100 per cent
land acquisition by the Government, Ramesh said, "You wait for
the Bill. When the Bill is presented, it will become clear
whether there will be 100 per cent private acquisition or 100
per cent will be acquired by the government."

"I have been a member of the NAC. So my aim will be
that the Bill that we are preparing will be prepared by both
the NAC and our ministry," he said.

"We will soon put out a draft Bill for public debate
by the middle of next week," the Minister said, adding that it
is expected to be placed before Parliament by the end of the
Monsoon session starting August one.

Ramesh said besides compensation to land owners, he
felt that the issue of giving benefits to those whose
livelihood depends on the land to be acquired also need to be
addressed.

"It is not just compensation to land owners but more
important issue is to compensate those whose livelihood
depends on the land being acquired. This is the most important
matter. Compensation is the second important issue," he said.

Ramesh, who was elevated from the rank of Minister of
State (Independent Charge) to a Cabinet Minister in the
reshuffle effected by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday,
said he held extensive meetings in the ministry till 1:00 A.M.
and followed it up with more discussions this morning.

He said there will also be a separate bill for
compensation and resettlement as big projects like power and
irrigation will come up.

"So, for R and R (resettlement and rehabilitation)
package, there is need for a separate Bill. But the Land
Acquisition Bill which will come will also have a mention of
resettlement and rehabilitation," the Minister said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 19:52

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