New Delhi: The path-breaking Land Acquisition Bill, 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 with overwhelming majority on Thursday.
"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.
The bill, which will replace over a century-old law, proposes compensation that is up to four times the market value in rural areas and two times the market value in urban areas.
The bill was passed with 216 votes in favour and 19 against.
Left parties, AIADMK and BJD members staged a walkout. Trinamool Congress voted against the bill while main Opposition BJP as also SP and BSP supported the legislation.
381 amendments were moved to the bill, of which 166 were official ones. Of the Opposition amendments, some were withdrawn and others defeated during voting.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister and Leader of the House Sushilkumar Shinde, apparently unwell, did not participate in the voting as they left when amendments were being moved.
The government accepted some opposition amendments,
including two moved by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj. These included that instead of acquisition, land could be leased to developers so that its ownership remains with farmers and provide them regular annual income.
Swaraj had also suggested provision for payment of 50 per cent compensation to original owners whose land was purchased after introduction of the Bill in Lok Sabha in September 2011. Government agreed to 40 per cent.
"There will be no forceful acquisition of land under this law. This legislation will provide lawful right of the farmers over their land and no right of forceful acquisition to government," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said while winding up the day-long discussion on the Bill.
Asserting that the new law will address "historical injustice", the minister said this law is being enacted under the Concurrent list and the states can bring their own law on the subject without derogating from the central law.
Allaying fears of Muslim community, he made it clear that the Wakf land will not be acquired under this law.
The Bill will replace the archaic Act of 1894 which suffers from various shortcomings including silence on the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced by the acquisition of land.