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Industry apprehensive, farmers happy

india Updated: May 18, 2012 23:10 IST
Darpan Singh/Kapil Datta
Darpan Singh/Kapil Datta
Hindustan Times
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Parliament's standing committee on rural development, which studied the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 for seven months, has sought to put strict safeguards on the government's powers to acquire land and recommended that no plot under cultivation be taken away unless as a last resort.

Industry in general and realty feel the recommendation, if accepted, would slow down industrial growth.

"The committee terms only rail, roads, irrigation, besides schools, hospitals financed by the state public purpose projects. Industry should have included in the list," said Vipin Malhan, president, Noida Entrepreneur Association, an umbrella body of Noida industries.

"The recommendations, if incorporated, will bring down industrial growth and result in retrenchment," he said.

"The current crisis in Noida and Greater Noida is because the two authorities drifted from their mandate of industrial development. They acquired land for industry and sold it to private builders. Industrial growth would have led to job creation and farmers would not have agitated," he said.

Greater Noida Industries Association general secretary, PP Sharma, Greater Noida Udyog Vyapar mandal president, Ravi Bansal, and Indian Industries Association representative Ashwani Mahendru also echoed similar views.

Builders feel since the bill proposes that no irrigated and multi-crop land can be acquired and compensation must be much higher than present, there will be scarcity of land and real estate prices will go up.

Pankaj Bajaj, president of a builders' association, said, "The recommendations do not address the need of the sector, especially large-scale projects. Government intervention is desirable."

RK Arora of realty firm Supertech said, "A tougher land acquisition law would halt the expansion of the real estate sector."

Development authorities in Noida, Greater Noida said compensation according to market price for a public cause project would be very difficult.

"If irrigated, multi-crop land is not acquired, the expansion of NCR would come to an end," said an official.

Farmers happy
Farmers are happy and feel if the standing committee recommendations are accepted, the bill would give a leg-up to food security and ensure farmers would get the appropriate price for their land.

Zamin Adhigrahan Pratirodh Andolan (anti-land acquisition movement) representative in Greater Noida Roopesh Verma said, "The recommendations are beneficial to farmers provided land compensation is fixed at six times the circle rates. The recommendations should be included in the new bill and should be passed without further delay."

Virendra Dhada of Rashriya Kisan Union said, "We are happy that our demand of multi-crop irrigated land being kept off the acquisition process has been met. Let private builders negotiate directly with farmers."

The land row
-- It's been a year since the Bhatta-Parsaul agitation broke out and drew national attention but the land row is yet to be resolved. The new bill is expected to prevent future troubles
-- Farmers in Noida and Greater Noida, besides the two development authorities would challenge in the Supreme Court a high court order which refused to set aside land takeovers in both cities but ordered increased benefits to farmers.
-- In Noida Extension construction of 2.5 lakh houses - 1 lakh of them booked - have remained halted for seven months.
-- Quash-acquisition petitions from the third development authority -- Yamuna Expressway - area have also reached court.

Minister allays fears
Though the panel recommended that states keep away from land acquisition for private or public-private partnership purposes, union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday sought to allay fears.

He said in Delhi, "Standing committee recommendations are not binding. We will accept those which are acceptable. But state must have a role in land acquisition, faster industrialisation and urbanisation is inevitable and desirable."

"Inter-ministerial consultations will take place. We will go back to the cabinet for a final approval. There will be one more round of consultations with states. The bill will be re-introduced during the monsoon of Parliament for passage."