National

JPC on land Bill gets 7th extension and a new Chairperson

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 27, 2018

Passage of the contentious Land Acquisition Bill, 2015, which aims to alter the 2013 Act brought in by the previous UPA regime, continues to face delays, as the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining the Bill was given a seventh extension on Friday. The committee also got a new chairperson in Ganesh Singh, BJP member from Satna, Madhya Pradesh, as per a notification issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Friday.

Singh replaces BJP veteran SS Ahluwalia, who is now the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs. In March this year, the JPC, headed by Ahluwalia, had got its sixth extension until the first week of the ongoing Monsoon session.

On Friday, Singh moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha seeking the seventh extension of the term of the panel “up to the last day of the Winter session”, which was passed by a voice vote amid the din over AAP member Bhagwant Mann’s videography of the Parliament complex. The Winter session usually begins in November last week.

“Yes, I have been appointed as the chairman...the next meeting will be held after the (Monsoon) session,” Singh told PTI.

This is the seventh extension for the panel, which was set up in May 2015 to examine the Bill 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.

Section 24(I) of the new law makes land owners eligible for higher compensation, where land proceedings have been initiated as per the earlier provisions.

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 land law.

Published on July 22, 2016

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