Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said a Bill on land acquisition that integrated the 1894 Land Acquisition Act and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act would be introduced in the current session of Parliament and the draft was being circulated to Chief Ministers, leaders of political parties and others for eliciting their opinion.
Mr. Ramesh, who was replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, said he had received suggestions from some quarters that the Bill be implemented with retrospective effect from a cut-off date. The draft Bill includes a provision that if five years after acquiring the land, it was not used for the purpose for which it was taken then it should be returned to the owner and the benefit of increase in the market price should go to the owner.
The Bill would protect the interests of farmers/land owners and not bar purchase of land by the private companies, corporates among others. It would enable acquisition of land for industries, industrialisation and some form of urbanisation. According to the Minister, “public purpose” included laying and developing of infrastructure such as highways, roads, bridges and railway establishments, and not malls and shopping complexes.
Mr. Ramesh said Haryana, West Bengal and Punjab had raised some objections to the draft and they wanted multi-crop irrigation land to be excluded from acquisition. The Minister clarified “land” was a State subject whereas “land acquisition” came in the Concurrent List. Hindu