Hindustan Times, Jan 2 2015, Indore: The ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act 2013 is bound to speed up Pithampur-Dhar-Mhow investment node of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, according to official sources. The project had been facing delays for past four years due to bottlenecks in land acquisition.
The central government had set aside Rs. 2,500 crore for the 22-km long industrial corridor in the first phase. However, the onus of land acquisition lay on the state government. So far, the state government has sanctioned over Rs. 286 crore for acquiring 1,250 hectares of land for the project.
Sources say the new ordinance makes things easier by relaxing the consent clause for five new project categories which includes industrial corridors.
Earlier, the acquirer of the land was required to seek a prior consent from 70% of the land owners. Omission of steps, like social impact assessment, impact on food security etc in the new ordinance for the five categories, and higher rate of compensation would further ease the process, sources said.
A senior official of the state industry department told HT, “Restrictions on buying land are one of the major hurdles holding up the DMIC project. We need 1,000 to 1,500 hectares of land for the project. Though the government owns a portion of the land, the acquisition can’t be completed without acquiring the private land.”
When the land acquisition for the proposed industrial corridor had begun in 2010, the state government was depending on the archaic Land Acquisition Act of 1894 to acquire the land. However, even after the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, the whole process had been moving at a snail’s pace, which escalated the project cost.
The legislation has also brought into effect a comprehensive scheme for resettling affected people by assuring them house sites, employment with the project, apart from paying four times the market value of the farmland.
Kisan Sangarsh Samiti president Babusingh Patel said that the farmers should get a fair compensation for their land and land should not be acquired forcibly. The organisation is fighting against the government’s on-going land acquisition in Dhar district for the DMIC project.
However, for some farmers the compensation is secondary and they are unwilling to part with their land.