National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) has demanded a discussion on the Land Acquisition Bill in every state, while former retired bureaucrats feel that there are several lacunae in the earlier drafts.
The Bill for the first time seeks to identify public and private purpose for land acquisition.
Suniti SR from NAPM in Pune said the draconian law needs to be abolished and the new act needs to incorporate lot of points. “We are not happy with the 80:20 ratio on land acquisition where the government will take on development projects if 80 per cent of people agree to land acquisition. We feel that unless absolutely necessary, land should not be acquired,’’ said Suniti.
She said that 17 lakh hectares of non-irrigated land in the state should first be taken up for development projects. “Irrigated land is looked as a long term investment for food security and for employment and this should not be taken up,’’she added.
The NAPM believes that for local decisions gram sabhas should be consulted and a proper consultation in every state should be initiated.
Expressing his displeasure on the earlier draft, former bureaucrat A Khan, said, “There are lot of grey areas and unless it is ironed out, acquisition will become very difficult. In our state, we have an MIDC Act and the land acquisition and rehabilitation are part of it. The state has been carrying out land acquisitions smoothly under the act. This is not there in many states. However with this new act, this is not very clear.’’
Another retired bureacrat from the revenue department said that unless the draft is properly assessed, it should not be tabled and cleared. “There should be more discussions as this would affect land owners in a big way,’’said the bureaucrat.
The Bill makes its clear that multi-crop irrigated land can be acquired only as a last resort. It provides for compensation which is four times the prevailing market value in rural areas and double in urban areas.