GoM Clears Land Acquisition Bill Draft

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A Group of Ministers has approved the draft of the long-pending land acquisition bill, paving the way for its introduction in the Parliament

NEW DELHI: A Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday approved the draft of the long-pending land acquisition bill, paving the way for its introduction in the winter session of parliament.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who heads the GoM, said they had been able to bring some understanding on each issue where there were different views.

The bill, which has been renamed the Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill, has been pending due to differences among ministries on various aspects including compensation and percentage of land owners whose consent would be needed before acquisition, basis of land valuation and sectors to be exempted.

Mr. Pawar said the draft of the bill had been given final shape.

Official sources said the minutes of the GoM would be released and views of all members would be taken. A meeting is likely to take place this week between Pawar and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to tie the loose ends.

The sources said the bill will not have a retrospective clause and instead there will be a cut-off date.

The sources said the final draft of the bill now proposes consent of two-third of “land losers” for acquiring land for public-private-partnership and private projects.

There was a provision earlier for 80 percent consent by both “livelihood losers and land losers”.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said after the GoM meeting that the government had found a very consensual approach to the bill.

Mr. Ramesh said the bill was progressive and added that there was more or less agreement on most issues.

The bill had been referred to the GoM by the cabinet after several ministers expressed reservations against provisions seen as hurdles to growth of industry and infrastructure.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Road Transport Minister C.P. Joshi and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath were among those who had reservations over certain clauses of the bill.

(IANS)

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