President Pranab Mukherjee has given his approval for the ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2016’ passed by the Gujarat Assembly in March.
Addressing the media in Gandhinagar on Thursday, state revenue minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said the new law would be effective from August 15.
The Gujarat government had passed this Bill on the last day of the Budget session this year after diluting stringent provisions of the Centre’s Land Acquisition Act 2013.
The Bill does away with Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for projects related to defence and social sectors such as building air bases, defence manufacturing units, schools, roads, canals and affordable houses, among others. SIA will also not be carried out for land acquisition for industrial corridor projects. Additionally, infrastructure projects under the PPP model, where the land continues to be with the government, are also exempted from the SIA and consent clauses.
Another key amendment in the Bill has removed the provision of seeking the consent of the affected parties. While the original Act required 80% of land owners to approve the acquisition of their land, this Bill states those provisions need not be followed if the land is being acquired for public purposes. However, the order will remain in place for land acquisition relating to industrial development.
The Bill has faced flak from all quarters for being “pro-industry” and ignoring the rights of farmers. Congress legislators of the state, including Shaktisinh Gohil, had slammed the state government for bringing in the law which is “anti-democracy” and “anti-farmers”. Activists and farmer groups from all over Gujarat have also been expressing their opposition to the Bill.
In the run-up to the Bihar Assembly polls last year, the Narendra Modi government had also allowed the ordinance to lapse and dropped the idea of seeking its passage in the Rajya Sabha.