The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Land Acquisition Bill that land should not be acquired without farmers' consent, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said at fatehgarh Rajputan on Saturday.
"To safeguard the interests of farmers across the country, SAD has already made its stand crystal clear to the JPC regarding the proposed Right to fair Compensation and Transparency the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, thereby pleading that not even an inch of land should be acquired by government without the consent of the farmers and the land owners," Badal said. All SAD MPs in Lok Sabha have already submitted a detailed memorandum to the JPC chairman stipulating that land was a priceless asset of farmers and it should not be acquired by the government without the consent of the farmers/land owners, Badal, who is also SAD patron said on the second day of his Sangat Darshan Programme at Jandiala Guru assembly segment.
Likewise, land should only be acquired for public sector projects and the government should not get into acquisition of private entities, he said.
Badal stated that Punjab had a time tested success story of land acquisition policy which ensured that no land was acquired forcefully.
Whenever land was acquired, the interests of the farmers/owners whose land was acquired were paramount and were protected by giving them an option of market rate plus displacement allowance of 30 per cent or becoming partners in the proposed project through a land pooling policy, he said.
Badal pointed out SAD has impressed upon the Union Government that wherever land was to be acquired, farmers should be given the option of accepting compensation at market rate plus displacement allowance or join a land pooling process under a policy as followed in Punjab.
Further, the farmer should not be denied the right to approach court for redressal of grievances, he said.
The Chief Minister opined that the state should be given a free hand for fixing market price of the land to be acquired and that price should be accepted for all acquisition, regardless of whether these were done for the state or the Central government or the public projects.
Badal emphasised that the Punjab model of land acquisition policy should be followed while finalising a national policy on the subject as SAD was a votary of "fool proof" safeguards for compensating the farmers and those dependent on land including farm and labourers.