The parliamentary standing committee on rural development, which poured over the Land Acquisition Bill, 2011, had surprising words of praise for the compensation package announced by the Mayawati government in 2010 against the land acquired.
Congress members of this committee include former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and chairman of the SC/ST commission PL Puniya.
In the draft report on the Bill, finalised by the committee on Tuesday, the UP and Haryana governments came in for equal praise from the committee members as providing rich compensation to farmers on the land acquired as well as the annuity system of payments.
The UP government had announced the compensation package after farmers in Tappal, in Aligarh, agitated over the land which was being acquired for the Yamuna Expressway for measly sums in 2010. The UP structure of payments specified good rates for land, almost Rs 23,000 per acre every year, with an increase of 600 per acre per year. This not only allowed for a lump sum being paid if required but also an annuity. The annuity feature was lauded by the committee. The Congress had, in its election campaigns, used the agitation against land acquisition in Bhatta Parsaul village near Greater Noida as a springboard. However, electoral dividends of this were few. BSP candidate Vedram Bhati trumped Congress' Dhirendra Singh by a margin of 9,500 votes in the recent elections. Now, it seems the policy itself is finding takers across party lines.