With several projects stuck because of problems in compensation to private land owners, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has decided to form a committee that will come up with a formula and decide the minimum rate to pay.
The panel will be headed by chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya.
The decision was taken following a discussion on Vidarbha development in the winter session of the state legislature, where several legislators pointed out the lacunae in the compensation procedure.
Many projects in the state, including the Navi Mumbai airport, Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, and Jaitapur nuclear plant, have been stuck because of acquisition issues, which have resulted in huge cost escalations.
“There was significant difference between the compensation being given if the central land acquisition policy was followed and the one given by the state. And the amount was completely different when directly negotiated by the agency. This was creating an atmosphere of mistrust among farmers giving up their land, and delaying the acquisition process,” the decision taken through a government resolution (GR) dated December 24 said.
According to the GR, the seven-member committee headed by Kshatriya will include additional chief secretary (ACS) planning, and ACS finance, and principal secretaries of the water resources, revenue, forest, and urban development departments.
It also called for the law and judiciary department to study the 2013 central land acquisition act, and then use it for helping the committee fix a formula, so that a minimum rate can be arrived at.
They have been asked to chart out a separate policy for acquisitions related to dam projects. The committee will need to ensure that all land to be acquired will follow a single formula, which will mean that all owners will get the same compensation.
“According to the 2013 act, you can’t pay any token compensation or advance. Also, social impact assessments need to be done. Currently, several land owners end up getting more than the market rate. The panel will have to take this into consideration,” a senior government official told HT.