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Land bill: Congress-ruled Karnataka picks holes in UPA law, demands changes

One of the changes demanded by Karnataka pertains to a clause which says land must be returned if a project does not take off. The state says this is hampering development

india Updated: May 24, 2017 12:46 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
land bill,Karnataka,Congress
The Karnataka government insists there should be changes to several clauses in the UPA law, including the provisions on the social impact assessment.(HT file)

The Congress might be dead against any changes to the land law but the government led by the party in Karnataka thinks otherwise.

The state has told the parliamentary panel on the land bill that certain clauses of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-era law needs amendment. It has said the clause pertaining to returning the land in case of no projects is hampering development in the state.

“The Karnataka government insisted that there should be changes in many clauses in the UPA’s law, including the provisions on the social impact assessment,” said a senior member of the joint committee on the land bill that met on Monday.

According to the land law enacted in 2013 during the Congress-led UPA rule, if a project doesn’t start within 5 years after the acquisition, the land will be returned to the government.

After coming to power, the NDA offered exemptions to 5 types of projects from this social impact assessment and also virtually took away the farmer’s right to refusal to sell land for government projects.

Top sources told the Hindustan Times that in the meeting of the panel, Delhi Development Authority also raised concern over the prevailing land law.

“The DDA said that due to the legal provisions, time in acquisition is getting prolonged and leading to an escalation of costs in projects,” a panel member said.

DDA, controlled by the Union government, is Delhi’s sole public developer. It also pointed out to the social impact assessment and the retrospective provisions for compensation in ongoing projects as key impediments in quick redressal of acquisition-related disputes.

Most of the opposition members, however, were conspicuous by their absence in the meeting on Monday.

“We had given a letter to the panel saying that we want to know from either the PM or the rural development minister about the government’s plan on the bill. Till they come, we will not attend the meeting,” said Congress strategist Jairam Ramesh.

The Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Nationalist Congress Party also skipped the meeting for the same reason, claimed Ramesh.

First Published: May 24, 2017 12:46 IST