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Land Acquisition Bill to be notified early next year, says Jairam Ramesh

Press Trust of India
Sep 15, 2013 at 06:18pm IST

The Land Acquisition Bill would be notified by early next year after framing of rules, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday and stressed the legislation will play an important role in curbing Maoist problem.

In the next two months, the ministry would frame rules under the Act and it would be notified early next year, the Rural Development Minister told reporters in Jaipur.

It provides for fair compensation to those whose land is taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories and buildings, infrastructural projects and assures rehabilitation of those affected, he said, terming the legislation as "historic".

Land Acquisition Bill to be notified early next year, says Jairam Ramesh

Land Acquisition Bill to be notified early next year, says Jairam Ramesh

Besides giving many benefits of land rights to farmers, Dalits, and tribals, the landmark Land Acquisition Bill could gradually eliminate Maoist influence in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa in next five to six year.

"Of the 88 Naxal afflicted districts, I visited 50 of them and found major issues of land and forest that were behind Naxalism. "Land deeds (patta) were given to 13 lakh tribals to live under the Forest Right Act, 2006. Jangal and zameen (forest and land) were issues behind these terror, and the new bill will certainly enable the state governments too to solve their genuine problems", Ramesh said.

UPA government in its second innings has established six new milestones of legal rights for public at large for peace and prosperity of the nation, he said.

These are Right to Information in 2005, MNREGA, Right to work, Forest Right, Right to Education 2008, Food Security and Land Acquisition Bills (2013), the minister said.

Ramesh said the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 enacted by the Britishers was outdated law. The new legislation is the first national and central law on the subject of rehabilitation and resettlement of families affected and displaced as a result of land acquisition, he added.

The buyer would have to pay 4 times compensation of the actual land price in rural areas, and 2 times in urban areas, the minister said, adding it was the minimum limit.

Landless labourers and people engaged in works affected with sale of land would also be compensated in the deal, the minister said. A separate section on the rehabilitation and resettlement of people would be dealt under the new bill by the government acquiring the land from farmer, he said.

In six tribal belts of Rajasthan-- Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, and Bhilwara-- to execute the acquiring deal, Gram Sabha's permission is a must, while in non-tribal belts, the advisory from Gram Sabha would be a must for any government acquiring the land, the minister said.

In old cases of land acquisition, the bill's provision would be applicable from the retrospective date, he said, adding if the government acquired the land but not paid the compensation then provisions of new Act would be applied.

In another case, if land is acquired and compensation is made, but the physical possession of land was not done, then the new law would prevail, he said. No state can reduce the minimum limits mentioned in the bill, he said.

The legislation would provide stringent and comprehensive penalties for companies and government and there would be punishment clauses for false information, mollified action, and penalty for contravention of provisions of act, he added.

When asked about the alleged land deals of Robert Vadra, son-in- law Sonia Gandhi, in Rajasthan, the Minister said he was not aware of any such case. He said the farmers would get 40 per cent of compensation from the government on land acquired from a middleman who bought it privately.

"Middleman would not get 100 per cent benefit, farmers would get 40 per cent profit)," he said. The minister did not comment on the refinery land controversy in Leelala.

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