Land acquisition for private projects will require the consent of 80% of landowners, the upcoming bill will stipulate. Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who heads a group of ministers (GoM) on the bill, on Monday said the earlier decision to seek the consent of two-thirds - 66.6% - of the landowners has been revised.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had reportedly objected to the dilution of the consent clause - from 80% to 66.6%- by the GoM in bid to make the bill more industry-friendly.
"Wherever the government acquires land for private purpose, it has to obtain consent of 80% of land owners," Pawar told reporters after a meeting with rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. Pawar said the bill with the revised proposal will go to Cabinet in a fortnight.
Pawar also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Jairam Ramesh met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to give the final touches to the provisions.
Originally, the bill has proposed consent of 80% of the people affected by the land acquisition - not just the landowners. The consent percentage was the bone of contention in the Cabinet. Half a dozen ministers, including Pawar and urban development minister Kamal Nath, felt the high cut-off would make acquisition impossible and hurt industry sentiment.
Following this, the PM referred the bill to the GoM, which brought down the consent requirement to 66.6%.
"If the acquisition is for the government to execute public projects, no consent is required," Pawar said. The bill, he said, would not be retrospective in effect and would be applicable from the day it becomes a law.
Though the bill proposes four times the market value as compensation for rural land, it is understood that states would be given flexibility to fix the value proportionate to distance from the urban centres.