The industry may not be happy with the new Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013, but its chief architect, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh feels it is time to set historic wrongs right by walking a middle path that can be accepted by both farmers and the industry.
‘‘There is a simmering anger among farmers whose lands were acquired. The extraordinarily low price which we have been paying so far is one of the main factors responsible for the anger among farmers, who are losing their only source of sustenance forever. To top it, the R&R is almost missing. It is this anger that we see in the form of violent protests at Bhatta Parsaul, Tappal, Singur and Niyamgiri. In the process, it is stalling all development projects indefinitely. Isn’t it better to pay a little more for the land that is acquired rather than have protests and violence spoil the future of development projects indefinitely?” he asked, adding that land acquisition is a very small proportion of the total cost involved in the project.
“We have tried to walk the middle path, therefore, both the farmers and the industry are annoyed with us,” he said on a lighter note.
Stating that the new Act has many new provisions that are better than the Land Acquisition and Rehab Policy, 2010, announced by the previous Mayawati government in UP, Ramesh said the new Central Act has a retrospective clause, which was missing in Mayawati government’s policy.
“We have often been told, especially by BSP leaders in Parliament that UP has a revised land acquisition and rehabilitation policy for the last three years and that there is nothing new in the Central Act. We differ. There are many new things in the new Act, which were not there in Mayawati’s policy,” Ramesh said.
“The new Act has a retrospective clause of five years. There was no retrospective clause in the 2010 policy and secondly the 2010 policy provided for compensation only to the land owners. We have provided included farmers and landless labourers. Again, as per the 2010 policy, the state government could acquire