Maharashtra govt’s hasty move on land law draws flak

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 06, 2015 22:43 IST

Even as the Centre struggles to push through the controversial proposed amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government has now attempted to implement them in Maharashtra.

The government issued a notification, adopting the controversial provisions of the Centre’s proposed amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The move has now drawn flak from the Opposition, forcing the government to defend its move.

Even the Shiv Sena demanded a discussion on the notification. Revenue department’s junior minister and Sena legislator Sanjay Rathod refused to give his nod to the notification, said sources.

Ultimately, the notification was signed by revenue minister Eknath Khadse and approved directly by the chief minister and issued on March 13.

The issue dominated the proceedings of the Legislative Council, where the Opposition disrupted proceedings and forced an early adjournment.

These amendments allowed the state to create five new categories of land use where crucial provisions of the act like getting consent from locals as well as conducting a social impact assessment (SIA) study before the project is approved. The five categories - defence projects, rural infrastructure, affordable homes, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership - are the same as the Centre’s ordinance.

Dhananjay Munde, NCP legislator and Opposition leader in the Council said, “The government cannot issue such notifications covertly, while the legislature is in session. It must have the courage and openly make a statement stating its intentions behind doing so.”

Fadnavis said in the Assembly that the notification issued on March 13, has lost its validity as the Centre has promulgated a new ordinance. He said after issuance of the fresh ordinance, the state will have to revise its notification.

Khadse said the notification was issued to ensure the development projects were not hampered. “The notification was on the lines of the provisions in the proposed Land Acquisition Bill, awaiting passage in the Parliament. Once the bill was passed, its provisions will be binding on us,” he said.

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