The Centre is pushing for changes in the Land Acquisition Act, which would limit the state government's role in acquiring land for projects.The move from the ministry of rural development sets aside a proposal from the National Advisory Council, which wanted the state governments to acquire the entire required land for even private projects 'of public purpose, with consent of 70% of affected people'.
"NAC suggestions are good which can be agreed in principle. But we do not have time (to incorporate such major changes) in the bill now...," rural development minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told HT after a meeting with land department officials to discuss the bill, on Thursday.
The government earlier announced that the amendment bills to the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 would be introduced in monsoon session of Parliament.
The minister added the draft bills would be sent to the law ministry for vetting "in a couple of days".
"Allowing states acquire 100% of land has its share of opposition," the minister said.
Chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is opposed to state involvement - a reason that held up the bill from last two years.
Two weeks ago, the NAC, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, also approved a proposal to drop two separate amendment bills - one on land acquisition and other on relief and rehabilitation as devised by the ministry.
The main contention is on the role of government in land acquisition for various projects - evident in the Bhatta Parsaul episode where Uttar Pradesh government acquired land for a privately developed 'public purpose' project - the Yamuna Expressway.
According to Deshmukh, the bill would retain 70:30 clauses - where under definition of public purpose, the state can acquire up to 30% of land required for a private project.
The bill, sent for the PMO's approval, has an added provision now under which if land for stated purpose is not utilised within five years; the same would be handed back to the owner.