Govt junks plan to re-issue land ordinance

Govt junks plan to re-issue land ordinance

The government on Friday decided to junk plans for re-promulgation of the controversial land ordinance by issuing a statutory order that ensures compensation for land acquired under 13 Central laws.

The proposed order will extend benefits of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 with regard to compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to land owners whose lands are acquired under 13 laws.

The 13 Acts include Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition & Development Act, 1957, and National Highways Act, 1956, and Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, 1885, Railways Act 1989, Atomic Energy Act, 1962, which were excluded from the purview of the 2013 land acquisition law.

According to the 2013 law passed by UPA-II government, the present NDA government was supposed to amend the 13 Acts so that compensation, relief and rehabilitation could be at a par with the new law.

The land acquisition law of 2013 has provisions to award compensation amounting to four times the cost of land when it is acquired in rural areas and twice the amount in case the land falls in urban areas.

The Narendra Modi government had argued that it had issued the land ordinance on December 31, 2014, to make these changes to the 2013 law.

However, along with these changes the government also notified amendments scrapping the social impact assessment and consent clause provisions of the law triggering a political furore.
The Centre tried its best to push through the amendments to the “tough” land acquisition law but eventually came around to the idea that pressing the issue any further would entail political costs, particularly ahead of the crucial Bihar Assembly elections.

The government had referred the Bill to replace the ordinance to a joint committee of Parliament where the amendments were strongly opposed by even RSS-affiliated farmers’ organisations.

Sensing the widespread discontent on the amendments, BJP members on the panel moved amendments to the Bill virtually restoring the law to its UPA-II version passed by Parliament in 2013.

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