BJP refuses to comment on Land Acquisition Bill



New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has refused to comment on the Land Acquisition Bill, saying it would react only after assessing the entire draft Bill.

"The BJP would like to safeguard the interest of farmers and also ensure development of the country, but doesn't want crony capitalism to grow. And that is why we will definitely want to see the fine print of the bill and will give our structured response thereafter,'' said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) had on Tuesday cleared the long-delayed Land Acquisition Bill, paving the way for its introduction in Parliament in the forthcoming Winter Session.

The final draft of the bill now proposes consent of two-third of "land losers" for acquiring land for public-private-partnership and private projects.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who heads the GoM, said fertile land could be taken away from the farmers only for projects related to national importance such as defence and similar entities.

"We are against acquisition of fertile land. But we have made exception for the projects related to national importance such as defence and others,'' he said.

He also mentioned that the government can acquire land only after two thirds of the people affected by a project agree to sell and the state government will decide on a compensation package, which would be several times over the prevailing market value.

"We have suggested higher compensation than what was given so far. We have suggested that state government should have final authority to decide compensation package because different conditions prevail in different states," added Pawar.

He further said that the government can also obtain land for public purpose such as the building of roads, hospitals, school, housing projects only after rehabilitation and hefty compensation to the affected families.

ANI