A debate over the retrospective application of the proposed land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement law has renewed within the Congress. Some senior ministers feel there is a need to tweak the related provisions further although just five days are left to pass it.
The provisions, if implemented, can alter the cost equations in many projects as the bill seeks four times the market price as compensation for land acquisition. The bill currently says that the retrospective provisions would be applicable to cases where no land acquisition award has been made and also in cases where the land was acquired five years ago but no compensation has been paid or no possession has taken place.
In a meeting earlier this week, options were discussed to change the provisions, attended by parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath, law minister Kapil Sibal and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh.
Congress sources said that a senior minister wanted a simple cut-off date for retrospective application and all deals after that period should attract more compensation. Another minister felt more farmers should get the benefit of this clause.