Future special economic zones to come under land acquisition Act

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Jairam Ramesh
Jairam Ramesh

The new land acquisition Act will apply to all future special economic zones, and the old Act is no longer valid, said Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference here , Ramesh said that the Act was very comprehensive and transparent. “In future, you will not see the type of ‘hera pheri’ (underhand dealings) which happened while acquiring land for various Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects across the country,” he said.

On Friday, President Pranab Mukherjee gave assent to the new Act, which is now being called The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. It replaces the Land Acquisition Act of 1894.

The new legislation provides for much higher compensation to the families that are required to sacrifice their land for public projects.

Criticises projects

Ramesh pointed out that if the land acquisition for a SEZ had happened five years ago then the retrospective provisions in the new Act will apply. If the acquisition has taken place within the last five years, then the retrospective clause will not be applicable.

Criticising the SEZ projects in the country, he said that vast tracts of land were acquired under the garb of SEZs by the real estate companies for realty development, he said.

“This law deals with the future SEZs and not the past SEZs. In future, SEZ land for real estate purposes would be curbed,” the Minister said.

Ramesh added that the new law has not dealt with SEZs that have been de-notified or whose land-use purpose has been changed. He said the rules for the Act would be formed by December. The rules could either be notified by January 1 or April 1 next year, he said.

(This article was published on September 29, 2013)
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