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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Land bill: At second meet, GoM fails to finalise draft

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 08, 2012
First Published: 08:31 IST(8/10/2012) | Last Updated: 23:36 IST(8/10/2012)

Dashing hopes of an early finalisation of the land acquisition bill, the Group of Ministers (GoM) failed to arrive at a consensus after its second meeting.

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Even as many new suggestions cropped up during the meeting on Monday, defence minister AK Antony perhaps surprised many as he favoured no government role in acquiring land for private industries.

Antony is learnt to have said that private players should be left to buy land directly from farmers. While Antony is not likely to come in the way of drafting the final bill, his argument could force a re-think on the basic structure of the bill.

The current bill retains the government's right to acquire land for private industrial projects but gives the right to the individual states to decide the cap of government's acquisition.

No minister, however, contradicted Antony at Monday's meeting.

"There was no argument. Everyone just expressed their views on the bill," said a member of the GoM.

"No decision was taken today but all members felt that we must wrap up the issue quickly and place the bill before Parliament," rural development minister Jairam Ramesh told HT.

Urban development minister Kamal Nath, who had expressed his displeasure over the current draft of the bill on at least two occasions, reiterated his objections on the methodology of valuing the land on Monday. 

Railway minister CP Joshi is believed to have given a lot of suggestions, which were described as 'out of the box' ideas.

The next meeting of the GoM will take place after October 15.


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