Business Standard, 18 July 2014, New Delhi: The Rural Development Ministry’s bid to amend the LandAcquisition Act has received a shot in the arm with the CPI(M)-ruled Tripura urging the Centre to have a “re-look” at the farmer-friendly legislation enacted during the previous UPAgovernment.
In a letter to Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari, Tripura Minister of Finance, Public Works and Revenue, Badal Choudhury said, “To my mind the new Act will benefit the corporate house making acquisition more difficult for state government in development programmes. This needs to be re-looked”.
Sources said the letter, however, did not elaborate on how the corporates will be benefited.
His letter came days after the Rural Development Ministry sent a note to the PMO suggesting a number of amendments to the Act. The government, which has initiated discussions with various political parties, is trying to evolve a consensus on the issue and bring amendments in the current Budget session of Parliament.
Tripura’s opposition comes after several Congress and BJP-ruled states opposed some provisions in the act claiming these hamper acquisition of land for various infrastructure projects.
The Tripura Minister also said, “It would have been better if a Model Rule could be framed by government of India with flexibility to the state governments to adopt with modifications wherever required for prompt implementation of the Act.”
The Rural Development Ministry’s suggestions include dilution of pro-farmer provisions like mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent locals for acquiring land for public-private partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private projects.
The government has initiated consultations with political parties to evolve a consensus on the changes to be made in the farmer-friendly law.
The ministry’s proposals also include dilution of a key clause of Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study criticised by states as time consuming for industrialisation process.
The ministry has made it clear that it is making initiatives to bring changes in the Act after the states complained that no infrastructure project is taking up after it was enforced few months ago.