Panel favours simpler land purchase process for roads

Parliament panel favours simplification of land acquisition process for road projects

The committee also suggested that the Ministry may take immediate steps to ensure that adequate manpower is present with the land acquisition units

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

Observing that land acquisition issue is the main reason for delays in road projects, a Parliamentary Standing Committee has suggested the Centre to simplify the process and iron out constraints in the system.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport Tourism and Culture headed by BJP MP T G Venkatesh recommended the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to review its guidelines issued for land acquisition from time to time and incorporate suitable modification to simplify the acquisition process.

The committee also suggested that the Ministry may take immediate steps to ensure that adequate manpower is present with the land acquisition units at the field level across the country. The alignment given for any given project should be finalised only after taking in inputs from all stakeholders and the local population with due consideration to the future traffic projects, environmental concerns and related issues. Changing the alignment at a later stage of the project can be a costly affair and should be avoided at all costs through application of foresight.

The panel said the present Land Value Capture Mechanism may help the Ministry in managing the huge increase in road project costs due to significant jump in land acquisition costs in the past several years. “The Ministry may consider making the upfront contribution of State governments flexible, fixing it on the basis of the financial ability of the State Government,” the committee recommended.

The panel said that, “ a mechanism may be worked out where an upfront payment is made to the land-owner and they are guaranteed a payment in the form of annuity for the land term, financing the same through the land value captured by the state government. The committee believes that such a system would lower the frequency of land acquisition matters ending up in litigation which cause huge delays to the projects besides causing cost overruns.”

The committee recommended that the ministry may evaluate the feasibility of construction of elevated highways in areas with high population density where acquisition of land would possibly be a long and tough task.