The ruling UPA government’s long-delayed land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill is facing hurdles from people within its ranks as well as outside. The latest minister to throw a spanner in its plans is V Kishore Chandra Deo, who expressed his views regardless of the Congress brass’ opinion on the issue.Taking a step beyond the suggestions of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the tribal affairs and panchayati raj minister maintained that the government must acquire the consent of 80% livelihood losers to acquire land for PPP projects.
Gandhi had asked the government to impose 80% consent from land owners—not livelihood losers—to buy land for the purpose of setting up private industries. She didn’t object to the Sharad Pawar-led GoM’s suggestion that the consent clause should be kept at 67% for PPP projects because the ownership of land in such projects remains with the government.
Deo’s demands came in a note to Pawar as part of the inter-ministerial consultations prior to preparing the final draft for the cabinet.
In a move that could lead to a tussle between the panchayati raj ministry and the commerce and industry ministry, Deo also stated that logistics parks and national manufacturing zones cannot be treated as ‘infrastructure’, and should be kept out of the purview of public purpose. Commerce minister Anand Sharma is keen on keeping them under the public purpose head because it would make land acquisition a lot easier.
The new land bill aims to define public purpose, and allows the government to acquire land only for projects under the ‘public purpose’ head. Deo’s demands may upset current equations and make the consensus-building process more complicated, sources said.
The government, however, is determined to introduce the bill in Parliament during the oncoming winter session.