Govt agrees to water down key clauses of land bill
New Delhi: With the Land Acquisition Bill slated to come up in Rajya Sabha Wednesday, the government has agreed to BJP`s suggestion to water down key clauses of the legislation in an attempt to muster the main Opposition`s support.
According to sources, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has agreed to senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley`s suggestions that retrospective and social impact assessment clauses should not be applied for the acquisition of land for irrigation projects.
Similarly, both the BJP and the government have also inclined to accept to make it specify that either compensation or rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) will be given to farmers whose land is acquired for irrigation projects.
However, farmers whose land is acquired for other projects will get the benefits of both compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement.
While speaking on the bill, Ramesh had said many times that the new bill will have retrospective clause to address "historical injustice".
Keeping in mind Narmada projects and the Sardar Sarovar Dam where farmers and land owners have had to make sacrifice whenever the state has sought to acquire land for irrigation projects, he had said the bill applies retrospectively to all cases where no land acquisition award has been made and also in cases where the land was acquired five years ago but no compensation has been paid or no possession has taken place.
The ambitious legislation, which seeks to provide just and fair compensation to farmers while ensuring that no land can be acquired forcibly, was passed by the Lok Sabha last week with 216 votes in favour and 19 against it.
Left parties, AIADMK and BJD members had staged a walkout when it was passed. Trinamool Congress voted against the bill while BJP as also SP and BSP supported the legislation.
"The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2012" stipulates mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent for acquiring land for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private companies.
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