Land acquisition amendment bill in next session, assures PM (Lead)

August 25th, 2010 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday assured a delegation of party leaders from Uttar Pradesh, including Rahul Gandhi, that the government will strive to bring the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill in the next session of parliament.
The delegation, which included farmers whose lands have been notified for acquisition for the Yamuna Expressway, told the prime minister that the present land acquisition act should be modified, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh told reporters after the meeting.

Singh said that Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati’s government in Uttar Pradesh was misusing the emergency provisions of the land acquisition act.

He said the delegation also demanded that Haryana government’s rehabilitation policy, which has provisions for acquisition of land at market rates and an annuity for 33 years, should be sent to all states as a model legislation.

Earlier, interacting with reporters before the meeting with Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi said land acquisition was “a big and important issue”.

Gandhi had paid a surprise visit Saturday to Tappal village in Aligarh district, the epicentre of farmers’ protests, and assured them that he would raise their concerns at appropriate forums.

Farmers have been protesting at Tappal for the last three weeks demanding a substantial enhancement in the compensation offered to them for their lands acquired to build the 165-km Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway.

Two farmers and a police constable were killed when police opened fire on protesting farmers in the area Aug 14.

“What happened in Aligarh is very unfair,” Gandhi said.

The meeting of the Congress leaders came a day ahead of the proposed march to parliament by the Rashtriya Lok Dal and some other political parties in support of the farmers’ demands and early passage of the land acquisition amendment bill.

The expressway, which is expected to reduce the driving time between New Delhi and Agra to about 90 minutes, will pass through Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida), Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Mathura districts. It involves acquisition of land in 115 villages.

The compensation amount was increased from Rs.449 per square metre to Rs.570 per square metre by the state government after the farmers launched their protest.

But the farmers refused to withdraw their agitation and demanded compensation at the rate of Rs.880 per square metre that was paid in Greater Noida.

The Relief and Rehabilitation Bill 2009 and Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, which were passed by the Lok Sabha in February 2009, lapsed as the term of the House came to an end.

The bills have faced resistance from the Trinamool Congress, an ally of the Congress in the United Progressive Alliance government.

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