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Amended Land Bill still Not Acceptable to Trinamool Congress
NEW DELHI: The amended land acquisition bill could run into rough weather with the ruling UPA constituent, Trinamool Congress, opposing the idea of the state acquiring land for private companies and PPP projects.
“There has been no change in our position. We object to the state being involved in acquiring land, and forcible evacuation of people. We maintain that the price of land should be determined through negotiations between the purchaser and sellers, and the government should not play intermediary,” said leader of the Trinamool Congress in theLok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay.
The rural development ministry, which is piloting the bill, has said that the government can’t withdraw from acquiring land for PPP projects or private companies when it was for public purpose. The ministry has tightened the definition of public purpose. The bill proposes the government’s involvement in land acquisition only when there are PPP and private companies, involved in “production of public goods or the provision of public services for physical infrastructure, social infrastructure and human development projects, including those involved in production of intermediate goods and services.” The ownership of land acquired for PPP projects will rest with the government. However, even this is not acceptable to the Trinamool Congress.
The rural development ministry maintains that the UPA ally should have no cause for worry. It argues that state governments are free not to be involved in acquiring land for private companies. An official close to the developments explained that the proposed legislation applies only to acquisitions initiated under the provisions of the Act, and private purchase over and above the threshold determined by the state government.
“The provisions of the Act will apply only if the state says that it is acquiring the land in keeping with the legislation. So if a state government is not interested in being involved in acquiring land for private companies, it is free to do so. In that case, the private company will have to purchase land,” the official explained.