The contentious Land Acquisition Bill, 2015, which aims to alter the 2013 Act brought in by the previous UPA regime, seems headed for the back-burner with the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining the Bill being given an eighth extension on Wednesday.
A resolution seeking fresh extension till the last day of the Budget Session 2017 was passed by a voice vote in the Lok Sabha amid noisy protests over the note ban issue after Ganesh Singh, BJP, the panel head, moved a resolution.
Congress members including K. C. Venugopal, were heard demanding that the Bill be withdrawn and the committee be scrapped.
The JPC to examine the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015, was set up in May 2015 after it was opposed by several political parties, including allies of the ruling BJP.
The Bill seeks, among other things, to remove the consent clause for acquiring land for five purposes — industrial corridors, public-private projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
Incidentally, the 2013 law had become applicable for national highway projects from January 2015, leading to a number of disputes cropping up as affected land owners were seeking higher compensation.
The Bill has been on a roller coaster ride with the Centre thrice issuing an Ordinance. However, after the third ordinance lapsed on August 31, 2015, the government decided against issuing it for the fourth time. Instead, on August 28, it issued a ‘statutory order’ to include 13 Central Acts, such as the National Highway and Railways Acts, to extend benefits to those whose land was acquired under the land law.