Land acquisition bill diluted: Saxena writes to Ramesh

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 24 2011, 05:33am hrs
Claiming that the Land Acquisition and Relief & Rehabilitation (LARR) Bill introduced in Parliament is quite different from what was agreed upon by the Jairam Ramesh-headed rural development ministry, National Advisory Council (NAC) member NC Saxena has said that several new clauses have been added under pressure, which dilutes the benefits that were originally intended for the affected people.

In an e-mail letter to Ramesh, Saxena said that the compensation is frozen to twice the registered or stamp value in rural areas due to which landowners cannot ask for more.

If this is the case, where is the room for negotiations before they give their consent I suggest that the section should clearly state that twice the registered value is the minimum, and it could be more depending upon the agreement with the landowners, he said.

Cash amounts mentioned in the Bill should all be linked with inflation and land that is not used within 10 years should be returned to the owner.

As per Saxena, Section 95 which states that it shall be transferred to the state governments Land Bank in fact contradicts section 93 which states that No change from the purpose or related purposes for which the land is originally sought to be acquired shall be allowed.

The draft Bill is now before a Standing Committee of Parliament with Ramesh trying hard to get it passed in the winter session of Parliament.

Further, Saxena has urged the Bill should clearly guarantee a separate house to each affected family. The present draft only promises house for house, even when two or three families are living together in one house and according to him defeats the very purpose of defining families as nuclear families and not joint families.

On development on land the Bill says, Without any development having taken place on such land. The NAC wants this to be deleted as it completely defeats the intention behind this section of sharing capital gains with the landowner. Same is the case with temporary occupation of land as it allows government to acquire land for a company against farmers wishes, which is not the intention of other sections of the Bill.