Govt brings up Anand Sharma's letter to check Cong offensive on land law

Government on Thursday sought to puncture the Congress offensive against the new land bill by citing former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's strong reservations on the measure in 2012 where he stated that the old bill during UPA will have "adverse" long term implications.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 26, 2015, 20:22 PM IST

New Delhi: Government on Thursday sought to puncture the Congress offensive against the new land bill by citing former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's strong reservations on the measure in 2012 where he stated that the old bill during UPA will have "adverse" long term implications.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the then Commerce and Industry Minister Sharma had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to deliberate on the concerns raised as the bill would not only make the cost of land exorbitantly high but also make acquisition proceedings virtually impossible.

Jaitley referred to Sharma's letter during his intervention in the Rajya Sabha on the debate on Motion of Thanks on the President's Address.

Sharma, in a letter to Prime Minister, had drawn his urgent attention on serious concerns raised by industry on the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, Resettlement Bill, 2011.

"The Bill in its present shape will have adverse long term implications for manufacturing, industrialistion and urbanisation in India," he had said in his May 25, 2012 letter.

Citing Sharma's letter, Jaitley said he had also stated that, "A legislation of this nature in its present shape will render key infrastructure projects unviable and slow down the process of urbanization considerably."

The then Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister said the Bill envisages exclusion of PPP projects and industrial townships and has certain provisions "which will not only make the cost of land exorbitantly high but also make acquisition proceedings well-nigh impossible".

On the clause on insistence of consent of 80 per cent of affected families, he had said, it will "seriously delay acquisition and in many cases halt essential infrastructure projects".

"It has also been stipulated that urgency clause cannot be invoked for industrial townships, expressways, highways, NIMZs which would lead to delay in land availability for infrastructure projects. The imposition of 100% Solatium over and above a multiplier of two will lead to a cost spiralling impact on land prices," Sharma told the then Prime Minister.