Haryana power minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav has suggested to union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh that fertile land giving two crops a year should not be acquired and only barren land should be considered for the purpose of industrialization and urbanization.
Yadav, who has been opposing acquisition of fertile land in his state, is learnt to have given his suggestions with regard to the new land acquisition bill in a letter to Jairam Ramesh who took over as the rural development minister three days ago. The Central minister has invited public opinion on the land bill draft, stating that it would be put online next week for feedback.
The power minister has also advocated that if necessary, fertile land should be acquired only with the consent of the farmers at a negotiated price and they should be given the option taking financial compensation or share in the project.
"Another suggestion is that 30% of the land should be developed and given back to the farmers whose land is acquired. It will provide their farmers permanent source of income and not uproot their families," according to sources.
Besides advocating employment for one family member of each affected farmer, he is learnt to have also drawn attention to the annuity paid to the farmers whose land is acquired in Haryana for 33 years to compensate them for loss of income. Yadav, who has difference of opinion on the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy of the state, has been venting his dissatisfaction on this issue and had suggested changes in it.
Last month, he was divested of finance and irrigation portfolio and given power instead. Though the changes were widely seen as a consequence of his stand on land-related issues, he is sticking to his views. His son Chiranjeev Rao, president of Haryana unit of Indian Youth Congress, is also continuing his support to the farmers who are against acquisition of their fertile land in Ambala and Rewari. Union minister Kumari Selja has also been opposing acquisition of fertile land in her Ambala constituency.