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UP government not to acquire land without farmers’ consent
Deccan Chronicle, 18 march 2015, Lucknow: Amid intense politicking over the Centre’s land acquisition policy, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided that land for development projects will henceforth be acquired through mutual agreement with land owners and land holders. The new system of land acquisition, aimed to tide over the delay in acquiring land under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and to prevent any legal tussle with land owners, was approved at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday.
The significant decision has come at a time when over a dozen opposition parties are opposing what they call an “anti-farmer” Land Acquisition Bill, which was passed last week in Lok Sabha where the government has a majority. Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party is in power in Uttar Pradesh, had earlier this month said that acquisition of farmers’ land by the Centre would not be allowed at any cost and the precious land of farmers could not be taken without their will.
Official sources said compensation for the land acquired in urban areas will not be more than two times the market value/circle rate and in the rural areas not more than four times the market value/circle rate of the land. The land owners will also be paid for the property, trees and standing crops on their land. If land cannot be acquired through mutual agreement, then action would be taken under the provisions of the 2013 Act and the concerning government orders, an official said.
He said the new land acquisition policy will do away with the complex procedure and present a better system for land acquisition which will ensure proper value of land, consent of sellers and rehabilitation of affected people. At present the government acquires land under the Land Acquisition Act enforced by the UPA regime. This entails notification of all land, followed by acquisition, possession, and finally construction. But, the new system proposes to bypass the four provisions of the existing Act. Now, the government, development authorities, corporations and other local bodies can purchase land from farmers and owners directly after negotiating with them and ensuring protection of their socio-economic interests. Official sources said under the new provision, the owner will be compensated for the crops and trees apart from the land.
Additional District Magistrates will be responsible for settling compensation for land costing up to Rs 10 crore, while for a higher value the decision will be taken by a committee headed by the respective District Magistrate. Mutual consent between the buyer and the seller will be the main feature of the new policy. The clauses of the old policy will be used only when mutual consent fails to yield any result. The Chief Minister had said agriculture is the main employment oriented sector in the country. “Farmers use their land for earning. Acquiring land all of a sudden will be injustice with a farmer,” says CM.