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Cabinet clears Land Acquisition Bill

Monday September 05, 2011 11:28:03 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The cabinet Monday cleared the "historic" Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, that seeks to provide for land acquisition in a "transparent" manner. The bill is likely to be introduced in parliament Wednesday.

"It is a historic Bill," said Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, adding "its aim was to allow land acquisition in a transparent manner."

The bill has the imprint of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, whom Ramesh has credited with giving valuable inputs.

The Congress scion had taken up the cause of farmers affected by land acquisition in Uttar Pradesh and had assured them of early introduction of the draft bill.

Ramesh has also acknowledged that Gandhi had provided valuable inputs in finalisation of the bill.

After being introduced in parliament the bill is expected to go the standing committee where it will be examined by members from various political parties.

The draft bill clearly defines "public purpose" and deals with the issue of acquisition of multi-cropped, irrigated land.

States like Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal and Kerala had reservations over provisions in the draft bill over restrictions on acquisition of multi-cropped land.

According to the bill, land acquisition should take place only after 80 percent of those affected by it have given their consent.

The bill also empowers the gram sabha - village council - to conduct social impact assessment of any land acquisition.

As per the draft bill placed in public domain, compensation in rural areas should not be less than six times the original market value while in urban areas it should not be less than twice the determined market value of land.

The draft bill details adequate provisions for the rehabilitation and resettlement of land owners and those who lose their livelihood in case of a land acquisition. It has special benefits for the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.

According to the draft bill, "land for railways, highways, ports, power and irrigation purposes for use by government or public sector companies" has been included in the definition of public purpose.

The drat bill, to be implemented retrospectively, is applicable if the land purchased is 100 acres in rural areas and 50 acres in urban areas.

Ramesh said the clause to give retrospective effect to the bill was inspired by demands from farmers of Uttar Pradesh, who had been agitating against the land acquisition policy of Mayawati government.

The draft bill was placed in public domain for consultations after inter-ministerial consultations Aug 12.




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