Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday assured Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that the pending Land Acquisition Amendment Bill will be brought in the next session of Parliament.
Singh gave the assurance to Gandhi when he met him with a delegation of Congress leaders and farmers from Uttar Pradesh who were agitating against "forcible" acquisition of land of farmers in Aligarh and adjoining areas in the state.
Gandhi said "land acquisition is a very important issue. What happened in Aligarh is very unfair. We need to have a view on it."
Asked about the pendency of the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, Gandhi remarked "I am aware of it."
The Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, which seeks to bring changes in the Land Acquisition Act, 1994, is being withheld owing to strong opposition of Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee who heads Trinamool Congress, a key UPA ally.
The Bill redefines 'public purpose' as land acquired for defence purposes, infrastructure projects or for any project useful to the general public. As per the bill, for acquisition resulting in large-scale displacement, a social impact assessment study must be conducted.
Tribals, forest dwellers, and those with tenancy rights are also eligible for compensation. Acquisition costs will include payment for loss or damages to land, and costs related to resettlement of displaced residents. While determining compensation, the intended use of land and value of such land in the current market is to be considered.
Asked about Banerjee's opposition to the Bill, AICC general secretary in-charge for Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh said "when a way can be found out on the issue of nuclear bill through discussion, why can't this be done? The issue can be discussed with Mamata Banerjee. This is a minor point of difference that can be discussed."
The AICC leader said relief and rehabilitation policy of Congress-ruled Haryana, which provides farmers the market rate for their land and also provides them with an annual cash payment for 33 years should be treated as a model policy and sent to all other states.
He alleged the land of the farmers is being taken by force in Mayawati-ruled Uttar Pradesh and there is no concern for the landless there.