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Controversial Land Acquisition Bill cleared by Union Cabinet, land prices expected to rise

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Controversial Land Acquisition Bill cleared by Union Cabinet Controversial Land Acquisition Bill cleared by Union Cabinet
SummaryThe bill was given the go-ahead in the Cabinet presided by PM Manmonan Singh.

The Land Acquisition Bill was today cleared by the Union Cabinet, making mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of people whose land is taken for private projects.

In the case of Public-Private Partnership projects, the bill makes mandatory obtaining of consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be for acquired.

The bill was given the go-ahead in the Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmonan Singh.

The bill was finalised by the Rural Development Ministry incorporating the suggestion of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who had asked the government to take the consent from 80 per cent land owners for purchase of land for the purpose of setting up industries and PPP projects.

Sources had said that Gandhi was not in favour of the Group of Ministers' proposal that the consent of two-thirds of "land losers" (from whom land would be purchased) was enough for acquiring land for industries and PPP projects.

The GoM had suggested that the consent clause be kept at 67 per cent for PPP projects and private projects.

The government had constituted the GoM after some ministers voiced strong reservations against certain provisions of the bill at the Cabinet meeting.

Minister of State for Rural Development Lalchand Kataria had yesterday told the Rajya Sabha that the government intends to introduce the official amendments to the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 in the Lok Sabha in the winter session.

Kataria had also told the reporters that the bill has a provision for return of the unutilised land.

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 had no provision for return of the unutilised land.

Realty developers expect prices to go up after Bill approval

Real estate developers and consultant today said land prices in the country will go up, affecting housing rates, after Cabinet approved the Land Acquisition Bill.

"It is not a good development for the industry. This will definitely increase land cost and housing prices," Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) National President Lalit Kumar Jain siad.

If the Bill gets the Parliament's nod, developers will also hesitate to go for big projects, he added.

Expressing similar sentiments, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) President Navin M Raheja said the Bill is not an industry friendly one.

"While farmers' compensation issue is taken care of, the government should have looked at the overall growth of the country. Unfortunately, that is not the case here," he added.

Mumbai-based Hiranandani Constructions Managing Director Niranjan Hiranandani said with higher compensation to farmers, resistance in acquiring land will reduce in future.

On prices, he said: "Definitely land prices will shoot up. Now whether we will get land for affordable housing, is a big question mark."

Hiranandani said the companies are already acquiring land for private projects with almost 100 per cent consent of the owners, mainly farmers.

The country's largest realty firm DLF said the reaction and how it will affect the consumers, have to be seen after the Bill comes into effect.

"There has to be a debate in the Parliament for this Bill before the final approval. We will see how the situation unfolds in coming days as that will be crucial for any future decision," DLF Group Executive Director Rajeev Talwar said.

He said the company already is acquire land with full consent of the owners, so it does not see any problem on the same.

Leading consultant Jones Lang LaSalle India Chairman and Country Head Anuj Puri said demand of housing projects will be affected in future with passage of the Bill in the Parliament.

"Cost of land will go up and developers will pass on the additional burden to consumers. Definitely, it will affect the demand if prices go up beyond the capacity of a home buyer," he added.

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