The Government has a proposed timeline for the award of compensation under the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill. This timeline was not in the draft of the Bill posted on the Government's Web site on July 29 for comments from stakeholders and the public.

After these responses and consultation with the stakeholders, seven changes have been made, the Rural Development Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, said.

The Minister said that the Bill had also kept in mind the forthcoming election in UP, and the views of Mr Rahul Gandhi.

The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, says, “Compensation will be given within a period of three months from the date of award. Monetary rehabilitation and resettlement will be provided within a period of six months from the date of award.”

Land Bank

One of the key changes is not only the creation of land banks by State governments, but also how to use them. If an acquired parcel is not used for 10 years, it will be transferred to the State Government's land bank.

“Now we will move an official amendment that will help in returning the land to the original owner.

“The State Government will also have the freedom to use the land in the public purpose,” Mr Ramesh said.

Multi-cropped land

Earlier a complete ban on the acquisition of the multi-cropped irrigated land was proposed.

But Kerala, Punjab and Haryana wanted some relaxation.

Mr Ramesh said that as a demonstrably last-resort measure, acquisition up to five per cent of the multi-cropped irrigated land has been proposed.

However, as suggested by the Agriculture Minster, Mr Sharad Pawar, wherever multi-cropped irrigated land is acquired, an equal area of culturable wasteland will be developed for the agricultural purposes.

These conditions will not be applicable in the case of linear projects such as Railways, highways, major district roads, power lines and irrigation canals.

Table 1:

Header –The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011

- No ban on the purchase of land by the private parties

- R&R provisions of the bill will be in operation after purchase of more than 100 acres land in rural and 50 in urban area

- State governments will have freedom to fix compensation above 4 times the market value in the rural area and 2 times in urban area

- Retrospective effect does not mean specific date, but stage of the project

Table 2

Header: Rahul's effect on the bill

- One bill for acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement

- Compensation not just for land owner but livelihood looser too

- More benefit for tribals

- Implementation from the retrospective effect

(This article was published on September 7, 2011)
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