NAC member accuses Ramesh of going back on his promise | delhi | Hindustan Times
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NAC member accuses Ramesh of going back on his promise

National Advisory Council (NAC) member N C Saxena has accused rural development minister Jairam Ramesh of changing his stand on Land Acquisition and Relief and Rehabilitation Bill (LARR) under "pressure" and has suggested several changes in the draft law.

delhi Updated: Nov 23, 2011 21:12 IST
Chetan Chauhan

National Advisory Council (NAC) member N C Saxena has accused rural development minister Jairam Ramesh of changing his stand on Land Acquisition and Relief and Rehabilitation Bill (LARR) under "pressure" and has suggested several changes in the draft law.

"It appears that many new clauses have been added under pressure, which considerably dilute the benefits that were originally intended for affected people," Saxena, on whose recommendation forest clearance for aluminum mining in Lanjigarh was scrapped, said.

Ramesh, as environment minister, had appointed Saxena as head of the inquiry committee on mining for Vedanta Resources in Orissa. He had also taken up the issue of land acquisition in the NAC.

In a note to Ramesh, Saxena has sought changes in several provisions of the bill which, he believes, can be misused to deprive poor people of their rights and favour companies.

He wants deletion of chapter on temporary occupation of land saying the section allows the government to acquire land for a company against farmers’ wish, which is not intention of other sections of the bill.

"Companies are likely to misuse the powers given under this section, as they will first take land on temporary basis, and when it becomes totally unfit for cultivation then ask the collector to acquire it permanently," he said, terming the section as redundant.

The former member secretary of Planning Commission was of the view that freezing the compensation to twice of the registered or stamp value in rural areas will deprive the farmers from negotiating with the land acquiring agencies. "I suggest that the section should clearly state that twice the registered value is the minimum," he said, in his critique of the proposed draft.

Finding an inherent contradiction in the draft, Saxena said section 95 says that land not used within 10 years should be transferred to state government's land bank whereas section 93 stipulates no change in the land use for the purpose it was acquired. Saxena also wants a provision in the proposed law to protect interest of recorded tenants as in West Bengal and suggested that they should also be compensated like the land owners.

He has urged Ramesh to make the changes before his ministry submits the bill for Cabinet consideration. Ramesh has ruled out the possibility of introduction of the bill in winter session of Parliament.