Ministers to study changes in land bill

Ministers to study changes in land bill

Modifications suggested after reservations in the new draft

The Government has decided to set up a ministerial committee to study the modified version of a proposed legislation to change the archaic land acquisition law, after several Union ministers expressed reservations over the new draft.

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday deferred the proposed Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparent Land Acquisition Bill, 2012. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) had modified the Bill, after taking into account recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. The Union Cabinet had deferred the Bill last week too.

Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily and Transport Minister C P Joshi are understood to have expressed reservation over the new draft of the Bill during the meeting of the Union Cabinet.

Singh, who chaired the meeting, decided that a GoM should be constituted to address the concerns raised by the ministers.The Trinamool Congress is also believed to have reservations over the new draft of the Bill, although the regional party’s lone representative in the Union Cabinet, Railway Minister Mukul Roy, was not present in the meeting.

The government had introduced the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, in the Lok Sabha on September 7 last year, to replace the archaic Land Acquisition Act, 1894. It was later referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development, which submitted its report to the Lok Sabha on May 17.

The Ministry of Rural Development rejected the Parliamentary committee’s key recommendation for a blanket ban on acquisition of land by the government for private sector ventures and Public-Private Partnership projects.

According to the revised Bill, the government will acquire land for development of ports, power stations, highways and irrigation projects, only if private companies manage to get consent of 80 per cent of land-owners.