Though the national land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement bill is still in the drafting stage, its imminent clearance in the Centre could affect the infrastructure projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
The bill at a time when the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Public Works Department (PWD) are considering huge land intensive projects for the city has set the alarm bells ringing.
Expressing reservation over the proposed law, the real estate industry has contended that the bill in its current form would only serve to derail the development process, especially in infrastructure and township projects. Restrictions on the acquisition of fertile land, land for private companies and private purposes are the sore points for the developers. The experts say it could result in an increase in prices but it will be too early to comment on the same.
As per the draft bill, the compensation for procuring the land in an urban area should be at least twice the market value and at least six times the market rate in a rural area. “Our land acquisition is limited. The hike in the compensation will definitely impact our functioning. How much the impact will be, however, needs to be seen,” said MMRDA metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana.
Thousands of hectares of land will be needed for land intensive projects such as the Navi Mumbai airport, innovation park, amusement park and a racing track in the MMR being taken up by various government agencies. The draft bill also makes consent of 80% of the project-affected families, if the government acquires land for use by private companies for stated public purpose or PPP projects, mandatory. “We are working on a special rehabilitation package for the Navi Mumbai airport project affected persons. The new law could make rehabilitation norms more stringent for the agencies,” said a senior CIDCO official.
Mayur Shah, managing director, Marathon Realty, said that the government should play an active role in the acquisition process. “It is not possible for the developers to acquire land on such a large scale alone. There are many legal and land title issues which can be handled by the government only,” said Shah.
The mandatory clause of consent from 80% of the landowners, whose land is required for private projects, too has left the developers hassled. “The rule will make most of the projects non-starters,” said Lalit Kumar Jain, president, Confederation Of Real Estate Developers Association Of India (Credai).
According to Jain, the best way is to make the landlord a partner in the process by giving him a part of the land after development. “This would expedite the process. Also, many landlords would agree to it as the value of their land will increase considerably after the development,” said Jain.