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Answer to row gathers dust

delhi Updated: May 12, 2011 02:09 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

An amendment bill and a relief policy, which could have effectively put an end to protests around land acquisition, are lying on government shelves even as farmers are taking to arms seeking ‘justice’.

The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill provides for acquisition of land for government projects, such as the Yamuna Expressway, though executed by a private player (Jaypee Infratech) ‘but of benefit to the general public.’

The new definition is a stark shift from the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, which listed public purpose as provision for planned development, improvement of towns and villages, land for the poor, educational and housing schemes, etc.

The compensation — part of the proposed Act — provides for a housing site in case of a loss of house and farmland rate determined on the basis of sale deeds of the last three years in the area. A solatium of 60% over and above the land rate calculated is also provided for.

The government on Tuesday stated it is improving the package in favour of farmers now.

Though the question over public purpose remains, which civil society says, “would allow private land grabbing through government acquisition”.

“The definition of public purpose should be justified such that people would be part of the project and progress made. Then there would be no protests against land acquisitions. We are working on such definition,” Harsh Mander, heading a sub-group on land acquisition, said.