Union rural development department minister Jairam Ramesh said that the Central government had considered the Maharashtra and Mumbai experience of land grabs while drafting the new bill for Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, that was passed in both houses last week.
He clarified that keeping in mind the working of the land mafia, benefits of the land acquired under the new Act will also have to pass to the original owner of the land, and not just the current owner.
“We are aware of cases of land deals in Maharashtra where land mafias were active, and a lot of land was purchased in speculation of the rise in the price of the land once the Act was passed. The transactions took place to reap the benefits of higher compensation under the new Act. However, in case of deals that took place after September 5, 2011, the day the bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha, the original owner of the land will share 40% of the compensation,” he said while addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday.
The minister said that the widely raised objection that the new Act was against the industrialisation and urbanisation was baseless.
“We have been hearing the criticism from Mumbai about the possible hindrance in real estate projects. The Act does not prohibit purchase of land for any type of project. Even the government and its agencies are free to purchase land,” Ramesh said.
He also said that land acquisition for special economic zones (SEZs) was not covered under the Act as they are governed by an independent Act.
“Though future transactions for the SEZs will attract its provisions, acquisition done in the past does not come under the provisions of the Act,” Ramesh added.