Jairam to relook into land bill drafts

Jairam to relook into land bill drafts

Jairam to relook into land bill drafts

The drafts of the Bills were almost finalised in the last few weeks during his predecessor Vilas Rao Deshmukh’s tenure, ignoring many of the recommendations of the NAC—the Congress-led UPA government’s interface with civil society. “We accept the recommendations of the NAC (on the Bills). We will work with the council. There will be no such occasion, when one will find differences in the approaches of the NAC and the ministry of rural development,” Ramesh said on Wednesday.

He said the MoRD would post a draft of the proposed Bill on its website in the middle of next week and seek comments from public. He added the government was keen to introduce the Bill in Parliament during the monsoon session beginning on August 1.
Ramesh, who was elevated as Cabinet minister for Rural Development on Tuesday, also held a series of meetings with officials on Wednesday.

The rural development ministry is ready with drafts of both the proposed legislations.
After a meeting with two members of the NAC, Ramesh hinted that the drafts of the two Bills could be re-worked to be merged into one as well as to incorporate other recommendations of the advisory panel led by Sonia Gandhi.

The government’s present draft of the new Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill would retain the provisions to allow private industry to purchase 70 per cent of the land needed for a plant directly from the land owners and get the rest to be acquired by the government.

The NAC pointed out that if the private industry was allowed to get land directly from the landowners, it might leave scopes for the land-mafias to exploit poor people, particularly in tribal areas, and would also deprive them of rehabilitation and resettlement rights to be guaranteed by the law for acquisitions by the government.

“He (Ramesh) promised that he would have another meeting with us on Saturday, when this issue (role of Government and industry in acquisition) would be discussed,” said N C Saxena, one of the NAC members, who met the new minister on Wednesday.

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