Business Standard, 16 Apri 2014, New Delhi: Stating that it had become “virtually impossible” to acquire land for construction of roads, ports and creating other infrastructure under the existing Land Acquisition Act, DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant today stressed on the need for amending the Act.
“Land acquisition for roads, ports and similar other economic activities has not been happening ever since the new Land Acquisition Act came into being,” Kant said.
“A number of road and port projects are stuck up on account of the Act and there is an urgent need to fast-track road and port projects which can be possible when necessary amendments are made to it,” he added.
The new Land Acquisition Act to provide just and fair compensation to farmers came into force from January 1, 2014.
The new law, passed during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, received the assent of the President on September 27, 2013.
The bill was brought as the archaic act of 1894 suffered from various shortcomings including silence on the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced by acquisition of land.
The Act makes mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of people whose land is taken for private projects. In the case of Public-Private Partnership projects, the bill makes mandatory obtaining consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be for acquired.
Besides, Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat Anil Swarup said the projects monitoring group has so far cleared 152 mega projects with approximate investments worth Rs 5.3 lakh crore and many such other projects are in the pipeline for final clearances.
Moreover, he said, the Environment and Forest Ministry has agreed to entertain and accept online applications of mega industrial projects for according environment clearances from July 1, 2014.
Thus, industry would be able to move its applications, seeking environmental and forests clearances online, reflections of which would follow on the portal created by the Cabinet Secretariat on latest status of industrial approvals, which any stakeholders including governmental agencies can access, Swarup added.