Modi govt relents on land ordinance, but ignores Cong’s demand of consent clause
The govt has relented, if only a bit,on the land acquisition ordinance.
The government has relented, but only a bit, on the land acquisition ordinance and drop an amendment that had earlier allowed it to acquire land for private hospitals and private educational institutions. The move has come after NDA’s land ordinance drew heavy flaks from the Opposition.
No concession, however, has been made on the consent and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) clauses, the main demand of the Congress and other Opposition parties.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 had called for a mandatory SIA besides consent of 80 per cent of affected families, in respect of land being acquired for private companies. It also called for the consent of 70 per cent of affected families in respect of land being acquired for public-private partnership projects. The process of obtaining consent was to be carried out along with the SIA study.
With the SIA and consent clauses not being reintroduced, the Congress-led Opposition plans to demand that it be referred to the Standing Committee. The other option before the government is to repromulgate the Ordinance with these changes, and then explore the possibility of a joint session of the two Houses.
A string of smaller concessions has, however, been proposed by the NDA government. One relates to industrial corridors. The latest amendment to the Bill allows for land acquisition only for industrial corridors set up by the government. The ordinance had left it open ended suggesting that land can be acquired by the government even for industrial corridors promoted or developed by the private sector.
Further, it has now sought to restrict the land being acquired for the industrial corridor by the state by specifying that it cannot be more than one kilometre on both sides of the designated railway line or road.
Two other key changes the government has brought about relate providing compulsory employment to one member of the affected labourer and allowing courts to take cognisance of an offence if committed by a government employee. The ordinance said no court shall take cognisance of an offence except with previous sanction of the government.
To ensure that an affected person is not inconvenienced, an amendment has now been proposed that the authority will hold the hearing relating to complaints on compensation and others, in the district where the land is acquired.
Interestingly, the government has sought to omit “social infrastructure” projects from infrastructure projects (including PPP) while seeking to exempt them from the provisions of Chapter II (Determination of Social Impact and Public Purpose) and Chapter III (Special Provision to Safeguard Food Security). More clarify is awaited on this proposed amendment.
Source:: Indian Express