Maharashtra govt proposes amendment to land acquisition act for Mumbai-Nagpur expressway
Changes to enable speedy acquisition of land; opposition calls bill ‘anti-farmer move’Updated: Mar 22, 2018 11:17 IST
The state has tabled a bill to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, to make changes that will enable the speedy acquisition of the Mumbai-Nagpur super communication expressway.
Once amended, the acquisition will be done under the Maharashtra Highways Act, and will enable the government to eliminate the step of conducting a social impact assessment (SIA) study, and also acquire the irrigated and multi- crop land for the corridor.
The state is facing stiff resistance from farmers in Nashik and Thane districts for the acquisition of land for Mumbai-Nagpur corridor. Though the total land acquired has reached 64%, it is much lower in these districts, and the state may have to impose the Land Acquisition Act for compulsory acquisition for the 701-km project. The acquisition of land under the Act involves various stages, and the process take at least 2 to 3 years. The amendment will, however, help the government cut the period short by one year, as the bill has proposed to exempt chapter 2 and 3, which deal with SIA and acquisition of the irrigated land.
“The bill has proposed the inclusion of four state acts in schedule V of the Land Acquisition Act. This will ensure that the project implemented under these acts will not attract the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, except for the provisions related to compensation and rehabilitation. One of the four Acts is the Maharashtra Highway Act (MHA) 1955, under which the Samruddhi corridor is being implemented. This will enable us to exempt the process from SIA, and also follow lenient provisions of the MHA, which will help us to complete the process early,” said revenue department official .
The process of SIA generally take one year, as the implementing authority appoints various agencies to assess the social impact of the project. This is followed by the other stages of compensation and its award to the land owners, while section 19 and 23 take another year each.
The amendment has been proposed along the lines of the changes made by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. “Since the amendments passed by the two states have been assented by the President, we expect our bill to be approved by the Centre immediately. The immediate beneficiary of the amendment would be Samruddhi corridor,” he said.
The opposition has, however, opposed the bill, terming it ‘an anti farmer move’. “The amendment has proposed unlimited rights to the district authorities while acquiring the land. It is being brought to benefit the Samruddhi corridor. The government has proposed to acquire acres of land around the corridor, though the laws provide for linear acquisition for such a project. We have opposed the bill, and demanded that it be sent to the joint select committee,” said Congress legislator, Virendra Jagtap.