People affected by infrastructure projects could soon get better compensation and job opportunities in return for their land.
The state government wants to amend the Maharashtra Resettlement and Displacement of Project Affected People Act, 1999, to offer project-affected people (PAP) better compensation and job reservations in private units or cooperatives.
The government has proposed this amendment to encourage people to willingly give up their land and other immovable property for industrial or development projects.
“Amendment to the act is essential because a decade has passed since it was revised,” Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), Ramesh Kumar, told Hindustan Times. “We will make changes that go with the present times and help us acquire land as quickly as possible.”
Kumar said the new policy will benefit PAP and it speed up projects that have been stalled because of land acquisition and resettlement issues.
The government may increase the cash component of grants given for constructing houses and create a quota for PAP in private projects coming up on land acquired from them.
There is a five per cent quota for PAP in government organisations. The job ratio in private companies will be decided soon. Kumar said there are four lakh PAP in the state but the state could give only jobs to 10,000. “We will offer cash incentives to age-barred candidates. We may not increase the government job quota,” Kumar said.
Projects such as power plants and dams in Konkan and Vidarbha, and manufacturing and processing units in Raigad, Pune, Thane, Nagpur and Satara districts have been affected by distressed PAP.
Kumar said the Revenue Department received several suggestions at last week’s conclave of senior bureaucrats and Revenue and Relief Minister, Narayan Rane.
The opinion at the conclave was that the Act was inadequate, especially when it comes to provisions for the classification of PAP, and monetary compensation, cash incentives and job reservations offered to them.
Under the existing policy, all PAP are treated equally when it comes to benefits. “We need to classify them into categories depending on the cost of property and area of land that they give up,” said Kumar. “A PAP, who has lost one acre, should not treated at par with someone who has lost 10 acres.”