The Hindu, 14 May 2014, Tamil Nadu: The Tamil Nadu government has worked out a strategy to address the issue of compensation for land acquisition so as to ensure smooth progress of the ongoing infrastructure projects.
It has combined the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 with some aspects of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, for the purpose.
Under the plan, interim compensation will be initially paid to landowners on the basis of the existing system. Additional compensation will be given under the 2013 Act as and when rules under the law are available. This approach will be adopted in the cases of land acquisition initiated under Section 4 (1) of the 1894 law [publication of preliminary notification] or Section 6 [declaration of intended acquisition].
This has been reflected in a notification issued by the Housing and Urban Development Department two weeks ago for the outer ring road project. In this case, the Department has declared its intention to acquire 43 hectares in Tiruvallur district under Section 6 of the 1894 Act, but provisions of the 2013 Act for the determination of compensation will apply.
The strategy was spelt out in an order issued a couple of weeks before the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections came into force on March 5. A similar approach will be adopted in the case of land acquisition for the Kannankottai-Thervoy Kandigai reservoir project proposed in Tiruvallur district. The reservoir will supply water to Chennai, a senior official says. And, using the same law, the process has been set in motion for a major bus terminus at Vandalur, on the outskirts of Chennai.
Furthermore, land is acquired under three State laws: the Acquisition of Land for Harijan Welfare Schemes Act of 1978, the Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act of 1997 and the Highways Act of 2001. In late February and early March, under clauses of the 1997 law, the proceedings have been initiated for the expansion of the SIPCOT industrial complex at Oragadam near Chennai, the industrial units at Cheyyar in Tiruvannamalai district and the extension of the Coimbatore airport runway.
Given the importance of land acquisition under these laws, the government has decided to continue the process for one year, choosing not to apply the 2013 law for the time being. A Bill for this purpose, adopted by the Assembly in February, is awaiting the President’s assent.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA K. Balakrishnan feels that the government should have at least kept the 1997 law out of the exemption provision as the rationale behind the 2013 law is to give owners a higher compensation when their land is bought for industrial purposes. An official says the scheme to provide interim and additional compensation, now worked out for the cases under the 1894 Act, will soon be extended to those under the 1997 law.