Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has said she is against forcible land acquisition but in favour of amicable settlement with regards to land requirement for industrial and infrastructure projects.
"I am against forcible land acquisition. I don't do that brand of politics that today I am protesting it and tomorrow I will express myself in favour of it," Banerjee said in an interview to private Bengali news channel Star Ananda on Wednesday night.
The central government has promised to introduce the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill during the winter session of parliament.
The move came after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in August following the farmers' agitation in Uttar Pradesh for higher compensation for land notified for acquisition with regard to the Yamuna Expressway.
Earlier, Banerjee expressed her reservations regarding the land acquisition bill.
"But if the government has to take a small portion of land for some welfare purpose, there should be an amicable settlement. If the land owner is willing to give the land, only then land should be taken," she said.
She also spelt out her formula on the compensation to be given to those who lose their land.
"First of all, there should be no forcible land acquisition. If a small portion of land is taken for government purpose, one of the family members should be given a government job," the Trinamool leader said.
"And once the land is taken and developed, 10% of it should be returned to the family of the land owner. And in case the land giver family has nobody eligible for a government job, they should be given pension for 30 years," she said.
"The interests of sharecroppers and landless labourers who earn their living out of the land should also be protected," she added.
Banerjee and her party had led an intense anti-land acquisition movement in the Singur and Nandigram area of the state, forcing Tata Motors to move out its small car plant from Singur to Gujarat's Sanand.
The state government also had to abandon its plan to set up a chemical hub at Nandigram.
"If I had not led a movement against forcible land acquisition, nobody would have taken the trouble to amend this bill," she said.
Banerjee's strong stand on the issue is seemingly born out of political compulsion as it is her anti-land acquisition campaign in the state that has turned the tide against the ruling Marxists and enabled the Trinamool to record stunning electoral victories during the past two years.
The Congress has demanded that Haryana's legislation on land acquisition and rehabilitation, which has provisions for acquisition of land at market rates and an annuity for 33 years, should be sent to all states as a model law.
The land acquisition amendment bill, which seeks to amend The Land Acquisition Act 1894, provides for mandatory social impact assessment for any acquisition resulting in large-scale displacement.