The UPA’s ambitious Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Bill, 2012, is set to undergo further changes in the Rajya Sabha days after it was passed in the Lok Sabha. The altered bill will be required to be cleared by the Lok Sabha again.
UPA has agreed to some suggestions related to irrigation projects made by the BJP at the prodding of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The government is expected to bring in three amendments, including one to keep irrigation projects out of the purview of social impact assessment (SIA) for land acquisition. SIA assesses the overall impact of the proposed acquisition on society.
Another amendment makes the retrospective clause non-applicable to irrigation projects, meaning it won’t apply to pending irrigation projects. The Bill would also be amended to provide for land or compensation in case land is acquired for irrigation, which means giving alternative land for land acquired for irrigation projects won’t be necessary.
Chouhan told leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and the party’s deputy leader Ravi Shankar Prasad to push for these changes over the weekend. The BJP’s sudden insistence made many wonder whether BJP leaders in the two Houses weren’t on the same page, but the party sought to dispel the impression.
MP has irrigation projects in various stages of planning and implementation on the Narmada, which will be hindered if the Bill is passed in the form the Lower House approved it.
Union ministers Kapil Sibal and Jairam Ramesh met both the leaders of the opposition and Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday afternoon, where the BJP’s recommendations were discussed and the government reportedly agreed to bring them up.