-The Hindustan Times
The parliamentary standing committee on rural development is slated to submit on Thursday its report on the much-awaited land acquisition bill — with suggestions for tough norms that would make it very difficult to acquire land for industry. The committee, it is understood, has suggested that ‘public purpose’ be clearly defined to prevent profit-making industries from taking advantage of the law under the guise of producing public goods at large. It has also said that projects under the public-private partnership mode shouldn’t be allowed to avail of the facility of land acquisition by the government.
The panel reportedly wants almost all projects to be brought under the ambit of the bill. Presently, the bill doesn’t cover defence projects, some national projects and those of strategic interest.
The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill, 2011 was introduced in last year's monsoon session of Parliament and was referred to the committee, chaired by BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan. With the ongoing budget session ending on Tuesday, it is unlikely to be brought in the House this time.
The bill proposes that private industry be allowed to come up on land acquired by the state only with the consent of 80% of the local populace. It recommends four times the registered land value in rural areas and double the value in urban areas as compensation to the landowner.
Recently, acquisition of land for the Yamuna Expressway projects was mired in controversy and violence, leading to farmer deaths and court cases.
Land is a state subject. While the national bill provides a benchmark, the states can form their own rules in accordance with the principal law. The new law, once in place, would replace a 117-year-old law.