Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Thursday tried to placate
angry farmers saying that under a new acquisition policy no land
would be forcibly taken from farmers and the government would only
play facilitator as far as development projects of the private
sector were concerned.
Claiming this was the first time any chief minister in the country
had held an open dialogue with farmers before drawing up a land
acquisition policy, Mayawati also accused the central government
of dilly-dallying on amendments to the land acquisition law.
However, the new policy is not expected to benefit the farmers of
Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida which has been a site of violent
"Henceforth, the state will only play the role of a facilitator
when it comes to acquisition of land for development of large
industrial or infrastructure projects by private companies, who
will have to necessarily go for direct negotiations with the
owners of land," Mayawati said at a press conference here
elaborating on the new policy which comes into effect immediately.
"The state government would come into play only where land is to
be acquired for public purposes for building roads, highways,
canals or for development by urban development or industrial
development authorities, as per the master plans prepared by the
The practice of direct negotiations and mutual agreement would
also apply in case of acquisition of land required for public
In a significant departure from existing policy, Mayawati has
decided to ban all forcible acquisition.
"We are against any kind of forcible acquisition and in case 70
percent of the affected farmers do not agree to give away their
land, the state will put the project on hold and take a fresh look
at the whole project," she said.
"While we had already framed our land acquisition policy in
September 2010, we have made major changes in accordance with the
suggestions made by representatives of farmers who have converged
here from different parts of the state."
She chose to call her farmers' meet a "kisan panchayat". The meet
came after widespread criticism of her government on account of
repeated clashes between farmers and the state police over
acquisition of land in parts of western Uttar Pradesh over the
past few months.
In the most recent clash at Bhatta-Parsaul villages under Greater
Noida, four people including two cops, were killed last month. The
violence prompted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to launch a tirade
against Mayawati and her governance.
However, the new policy will not benefit the farmers of
Bhatta-Parsaul. "Since farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul had already
received their full and final compensation in terms of the then
prevailing policy, the revised policy would not apply to them,"
Mayawati clarified in reply to a question.
Yet, she claimed: "I am confident that my government's revised
land acquisition policy looks far ahead of what is still being
deliberated by the central government, which had been sitting over
the land acquisition amendment bill for a long time now."
In a warning, she said: "I wish to make it clear that the Bahujan
Samaj Party (BSP) will raise the issue during the forthcoming
monsoon session of parliament; and in case the central government
fails to introduce the bill during that session, we will lay a
siege around parliament."
Speaking on the new policy, she said: "Apart from being free to
enter into a direct contract with the developer company, a farmer
would also have the liberty to choose the kind of compensation -
between an outright amount settled through negotiation or a
"Besides, he would also have yet another option to take up to 23
percent fully developed land in lieu of the total acquired
agricultural land, which would entail a waiting period of up to
"In case of instant payment of a negotiated compensation, the
farmer would also be entitled to a 33-year annuity at the rate of
Rs.23,000 per acre with an annual increment of Rs.800," she said.
"And for those who do not wish to go for such a long term
arrangement, a provision has been made for payment of a one-time
flat rehabilitation package at the rate of Rs.2.76 lakh per acre."
In an effort to keep farmers in good humour, she said: "Even as we
have drawn up a blue print of the new policy, we will continue to
keep the doors open to accommodate more suggestions from farmers."