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Land bill: Govt climbs down, may go for consent in industrial zone

The government may drop the clause in the land acquisition bill that allows industrial corridors to buy land up to one km on either side of the enclaves without being subjected to the social impact assessment and consent rules.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2015 07:52 IST
The-government-chose-the-ordinance-route-to-push-forth-land-reforms-PTI-File-Photo
The-government-chose-the-ordinance-route-to-push-forth-land-reforms-PTI-File-Photo

The government may drop the clause in the land acquisition bill that allows industrial corridors to buy land up to one km on either side of the enclaves without being subjected to the social impact assessment and consent rules.

According to sources, the first indication of this climb down came Thursday when department of industrial policy and promotion secretary Amitabh Kant told a joint parliamentary panel on the land bill that the clause — to allow smooth acquisition of land on both sides of an industrial corridor —“should not be there in the bill”.

When contacted, Kant declined comment.

The particular amendment, added to the land ordinance in March, had become a major sticking point between the ruling combine and the Opposition, which cited it as a “proof” of the government’s “pro-industry” tilt.

Kant also indicated to the committee that it wasn’t the government’s intention to acquire land on a contiguous basis on 1 km on both sides of a road or railway line that runs through large industrial corridors, sources said.

“There was an apprehension that the government was aiming to acquire large contiguous tracts of land up to one km on both sides of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. It has been clarified that nothing of that sort is being planned,” sources, who did not wish to be identified, told HT.

According to sources, government officials have also clarified that the large industrial zones or cities will be developed only when land and water are made available by state governments.

The candid deposition of the senior officials surprised many in the committee. While Opposition leaders like Bhartruhari Mahtab and Jairam Ramesh wanted to know how this provision crept into the bill, BJP members like Ganesh Singh quipped, “Because of these clauses, we are receiving flak from public for past few months.”

The move, seen by many as a major climb down, is part of the government’s strategy to break the parliamentary impasse on the bill, critical to building factories and accelerating road and other infrastructure projects.

The panel will meet on July 29 to firm up amendments amid indications that the government is ready to dilute several provisions of the controversial bill described as “anti-farmer” by the Opposition.

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