Five disgruntled ministries send land bill to GoM
A bill that seeks to strike a balance between economic growth and issues such as natural resources and livelihood of local residents was referred to a group of ministers (GoM) by the cabinet on Tuesday.
The decision of the cabinet meant that the bill — titled The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill (previously known as the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill) — would not be presented in Parliament during the monsoon session, which has been disrupted due to the row over coal block allocations.The cabinet took up the bill for the second consecutive occasion, after the decision was deferred due to "paucity of time" last week. One from among the finance, home, agriculture and defence ministers could head the GoM, sources said.
The decision referring to the GoM came after about half a dozen ministers expressed reservations over the provisions of the bill, which they said either confine or hinder projects pertaining to the public sphere, such as road construction.
Railway minister Mukul Roy, representing the Trinamool Congress — a party opposed to state acquisition of land, was not present. Commerce minister Anand Sharma, whose ministry opposed exclusion of SEZs and industrial parks from the 'public purpose' definition, sent a note suggesting that the bill be held back till the issues are resolved.
According to sources, road transport minister C P Joshi expressed concern that the regulations could obstruct the construction of highways, which is essential for growth. Urban development minister Kamal Nath opined that the bill should be further modified to ensure that urbanisation and industrialisation are not affected.
While corporate affairs and power minister Veerappa Moily is said to have favoured making the bill “friendlier” towards farmers and displaced people, the civil aviation ministry has sought time to study its provisions in detail.
The bill, seeking to regulate and rationalise the land acquisition process in the country by replacing an 1894 Act, was introduced in September 2011.