Days after it was made public, the new land acquisition bill is facing resistance.
While farmer’s unions and civil society groups want more — permanent rights over land, even in case of a take over, prior consent of people even for public projects, state agencies and developers are unhappy over the restrictive nature of the bill."As farmers, we would not like to part with our land but if required in larger public interest we will. In this case, government should take the land on lease basis, so that the connect and right over our land still exists," Dushyant Nagar, a farmer of Rozajalalpur in Greater Noida said.
Chowdhary Surajmal, convenor, Azad Hind Kisan Mahasangh, Gurgaon wants the ‘public purpose’ definition made stricter. “Under the category of industry comes tourism and people would start building hotels and resorts in the name of public purpose," he said.
On Wednesday, several farmer unions and civil society groups sat on a protest at Jantar Mantar demanding that rural development minister Jairam Ramesh 'bring in a development planning act in place of a land acquisition act’.
"Why is the bill not asking for 80% public consent for government projects when they also displace the local communities the same way as private projects with public purpose (for whom the government is allowed to acquire land)," Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan said.
The alliance also want gram sabha to have the first say in any proposal and demanded that no profit-making firm be given land under public purpose clause.
On other hand, state agencies are opposing the bill for it's 'restrictive nature'. "Compensation according to market price for a public cause project would be very difficult... The bill by stopping acquisition of irrigated, multi-crop land puts end to expansion of NCR," Balvinder Kumar, chairman Noida said.
The realty sector too is unhappy. “No one would like to burn his own pockets. If government acquires at higher price, it would sell to private developers at higher price. They have no option but to transfer the burden on to the consumer,” Manoj Goel, senior VP, Raheja Developers said.