Even as rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday assured a group of farmers from UP that the new land bill will be modified to bring in a retrospective effect on all the ongoing land acquisition processes, the industry has opposed the proposal.
The retrospective clause proposed by the minister puts lid on hundreds of acquisitions — government and government for private companies — that are at various stages of possession of land.
What it will also force on the companies is the new rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) process they have to adhere to.
The draft bill, which also incorporates the relief process, says that the private companies acquiring more than 100 acres of land even on their own should follow the rehabilitation and resettlement provisions provided in the bill.
The provisions range from giving R2,000 per month per affected family for twenty years, 20% of developed land reserved for original land owners in case of urbanisation projects to mandatory employment for one family member. The R&R also provides for people losing livelihoods including a constructed house.
“We cannot agree with the retrospective clause. There are several acquisitions which are at advanced stages in the country, how can they be handed over to the collector just like that on one fine day,” questions Chetan Bijesuri, additional director general in FICCI.
“It is this unpredictability of the Indian policy, which is scaring away big investors like Posco a company whose grand plans are hit by uncertainty,” said a senior functionary of a top industrial chamber.
The chambers are also opposing the return of land clause if the project does not come up in five years. “Industries of massive scale take years to set up and who will assess as what percent completion should be there by end of five years. Obviously, they cannot ask a company to dismantle its buildings for the reason they have not commenced production in five years,” the functionary said.