Land acquisition has led to violent protest in many parts of the country, but the fast industrialising state of Haryana has been diverting land to non-agricultural purposes rather easily.
The reason — the state’s compensation package for those who lose land is attractive, made more so by a recent revision. (See box)
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had recently pointed out the Haryana model as an example — where the compensation is linked to market prices of land and takes into account future value additions, at least partially.
Two pieces of national legislation — one that outlines the acquisition process and the other that specifies resettlement and rehabilitation of affected people — are pending Parliament approval.
The overarching law that regulates land acquisition as of now is the Land Acquistion Act of 1894. Different states have responded to intense protests from farmers by notifying compensation rules. Like UP, which after the Yamuna Expressway protests came out with annuity model on Haryana lines.
But in some states the rules are not in tune with the reason for conflict. Orissa policy puts it as, “The project proponent may opt for direct purchase of land on the basis of negotiated price after issue of notification requiring acquisition of land under relevant Act(s). If acquisition of land through direct purchase fails, other provisions of the relevant Act may be invoked.”
The Haryana policy, apart from offering lump sum compensation, provides a 33-year annuity, annual hike, plots, jobs and even a 20% incentive for a no-litigation agreement. There is also statutory amount of interest and 30% solatium. While other state policies allow a district-level calculation of land value, which is often disputed, Haryana, for practical purposes, has been divided into five zones for computing the minimum floor rate (MFR), which the acquirer has to pay.
Officials in the department of land resources, rural development ministry, framing the law nod in approval. “Haryana is a good model, but we cannot just relate a central policy to what is followed in one state. Our policy while providing much allows the states to give even more,” a senior official said.
But activists against acquisition are not any amused. “With its proximity to New Delhi, Haryana can offer such packages which cannot be the case elsewhere. The Centre’s task is to bring uniformity in compensation taking into view the local conditions,” Ravi Rebbapragada, executive director of Samata an NGO, said.
Minimum floor rate for land under Gurgaon Municipal Corporation: Rs 40 lakh per acre. Faridabad and Panchkula MCs, plan areas of Gurgaon-Manesar, Sonepat Kundli: Rs 30 lakh per acre. In other areas: Rs 12 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.
Annuity: Rs 21,000 per acre per annum for government projects, increasing by Rs 750 every year for 33 years – making it Rs 10.89 lakh per acre.
For private, annuity: Rs 42000 with annual increase of Rs 1500 per acre.
Also provides for residential / industrial plot, government job to displaced family.
Stamp duty exemption for farmers.