UPA government has stepped up the process of formulating a comprehensive land acquisition bill that will address concerns regarding acquiring of land and compensation.
The controversial bill, seeking amendments to the original Land Acquisition Act of 1894, has hit a roadblock due to stiff opposition by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who will assembly elections in West Bengal in 2011.
On his part, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has now asked Banerjee to give him in writing her objections to the Bills.
The move follows the Prime Minister's assurances to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday that the bill will be brought in Parliament in the winter session.
Gandhi, his party colleague Digvijaya Singh and a delegation of farmers from Uttar Pradesh had met Singh to request him to "take a view" on acquisition of their land by the Mayawati government for its Yamuna expressway project.
The bills — earlier referred to as the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007 and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2007 — were passed by the 14th Lok Sabha on February 25, 2009 and tabled in the Rajya Sabha on February 26, 2009. However, both Bills lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
The government had revised the draft of the land acquisition Bill, according to which any land required for a major project would not be acquired if 70 per cent of farmers don't give their assent to the proposal.
Likewise, farmlands where more than one crop is grown in a year would not be acquired.
Banerjee has been strongly opposing the land acquisition Bill that provides for private developers acquiring 70 per cent of land for a proposed industrial project directly from farmers and landowners while the remaining is to be acquired by the state government.
She doesn't support the idea of government getting into the business of acquiring land for companies but wants entrepreneurs to buy 100 per cent of the land and not just 70 per cent.