Land acquisition bill is a departure from earlier one: Minister

December 20th, 2011 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) Acquired land lying unutilised for ten years is to go to the government’s land bank, according to a key provision of the proposed Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, the Rajya Sabha was told Tuesday.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in a written reply that this was a major departure from the 2009 draft of the bill, according to which land lying unutilised for five years would return to the owner.

The minister said this in response to a query on the need for amendments when the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2009, had been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on Feb 25, 2009 and was sent to Rajya Sabha, but in the meantime Lok Sabha was dissolved and the Bill lapsed, the minister said.

“In the meanwhile, a number of issues regarding land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement have come to fore. These were considered and a single consolidated Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 covering the issues of land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement has been prepared by the Department,” he said.

In yet another departure from the 2009 bill, which barred acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land, the 2011 bill provides that under “exceptional circumstances” such lands could be acquired upto certain extent.

In another dilution, the proposed 2011 bill says that a committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary would examine the projects requiring acquisition of land of 100 acres or more. Under the 2009 bill, all proposals involving acquisition of land to any extent were examined by the committee headed by the chief secretary.

In the earlier draft, to calculate land compensation, market value of the land in rural areas was to be multiplied by a factor of three. In the 2011 bill, it is to be multiplied by a factor of two, the minister told the upper house.

The rehabilitation and resettlement provision would apply if the acquisition by a private company in rural areas is of 100 acres or more and 50 acres in urban areas. Earlier it was 100 acres across the board.

In the proposed 2011 bill, all limits on the acquisition of land has been done away for undertaking social impact assessment. Earlier in the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, the social impact assessment was undertaken if the land under acquisition was 100 acres or more.

However, the earlier draft provided a lump-sum payment of Rs.2 lakh in lieu of a job to a person whose land was being acquired, but under the 2011 bill, the limit has been enhanced to Rs.5 lakh.

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