Industry-friendly changes in Land Act Purposed

RSTV Bureau

Village women protest against land acquisitions

The Rural Development Ministry has suggested a number of amendments to the Land Acquisition Act which would water down pro-farmer provisions like mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent locals for acquiring land for PPP projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private projects.

The Land Acquisition Act enacted during the UPA government is likely to undergo drastic changes if Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives nod for Rural Development Ministry’s proposals which also include dilution of a key clause of Social Impact Assessment study criticised by states as time consuming for industrialisation process.

“The Consent Clause (Section 2(2)) should be re-examined as ownership of land vests with the Government in PPP projects. The consent clause should be removed from PPP projects. Alternatively, consent requirement may be brought down to 50 per cent,” says the Ministry in its note sent to the PMO.

It says that “mandatory Social Impact Assessment study should be done away with. SIA should be confined to large projects/PPP Projects as it may delay acquisition process.”

It has also suggested amendment to another key provision on acquisition of “multi-cropped irrigated land”.

“The provision to safeguard food security (Section 10) by development of culturable wastelands in lieu of acquisition of multi-cropped irrigated land needs to be amended as States like Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand do not have any wasteland for the purpose,” it says.

The Ministry’s suggestions for drastic changes in the Act came after most of the states recently came out openly against the new Act, complaining that it had hurt the process of acquiring land for infrastructure projects.

They have demanded “drastic changes” in certain provisions of the law.

At a meeting of State Revenue Ministers here chaired by Union Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari, the states including Congress-ruled Haryana objected to provisions for mandatory consent and Social Impact Assessment study, which are made mandatory in all land acquisitions.