Notwithstanding opposition by Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, the UPA government is likely to re-introduce the controversial land acquisition bill in Parliament during the ongoing winter session.
The government also plans to re-introduce the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2009, which seeks to rehabilitate and resettle people affected by land acquisition for public projects or involuntary displacement because of any other reason.
According to the revised draft of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2009, seeking amendments to the original 1894 Act, 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.
“These strict provisions have been included to protect the interests of farmers,” a rural development ministry official said.
The Bills were passed by the Lok Sabha on February 25 and tabled in the Rajya Sabha on February 26. However, both the Bills lapsed with the dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha.
Banerjee has been 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 30 per cent is to be acquired by the state government. She had even walked out of a cabinet meeting once over the issue.
She doesn’t support government getting into the business of acquiring land for companies and wants entrepreneurs to buy 100 per cent of the land they require.
Banerjee also wants no industries to come up on agricultural land and favours giving legal rights to farmers to enable them to buy back their land if the proposed industry fails to come up within the prescribed time.