Two-thirds consent to be key for land deals

A high level ministerial panel on Tuesday cleared the long-delayed Land Acquisition Bill, with the provision that consent of two-thirds land losers was essential before acquiring land for public / private partnership and private projects.

The panel headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said  the bill would be sent to the Cabinet for approval and would be tabled in Parliament.

Though in the original draft, 80 per cent of consent by both livelihood losers and land losers was required before land could be acquired, it was later decided that only two-thirds land losers’ approval was enough. However, the bill would not be applicable retrospectively.

Instead, there would be a cut-off date, to be decided later.  “The basic structure remains. Two-thirds consent of land owners is essential for PPP and for private projects for public purpose. There was consensus that the two-thirds consent clause should be there,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

The compensation would be decided by the state, but the bill would provide a baseline for compensation. While the bill sought to discourage acquisition of irrigated multi-crop or agriculture land, it would give the choice of earmarking how much of such land should be reserved for protection against acquisition to the states.

The rehabilitation and resettlement policy had to be mandatory for all acquisition.

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