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Free Govt-led infra Projects from new Land Acquisition Act: DIPP

To avoid delays in large-scale projects, such as industrial corridors and national highways, the Commerce and Industry Ministry has proposed that Government-led infrastructure projects be kept out of the ambit of the new Land Acquisition Act.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, in a submission to the Rural Development Ministry, has said that provisions such as mandatory consent of project-affected people for land acquisition should not apply to infrastructure projects where the Government has a stake.

“Acquiring land for projects such as roads, railway and ports has come to a halt since the new Land Acquisition Act was implemented early this year.

“If we do not exclude Government-led projects from the ambit of the Act, our ambitious plans to build and upgrade infrastructure across the country will be stuck,” a Government official.

New legislation

The new legislation - the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act — makes it mandatory for developers to obtain the consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be acquired for Public-Private Partnership projects. In the case of private projects, the consent of 80 per cent of the displaced is mandatory.

Road Minister Nitin Gadkari, who also has additional charge of Rural Development, recently said that changes may be brought about in the Land Acquisition Act. He added that he had discussed various provisions of the Act with State governments and that the Prime Minister would take a final call on the matter.

Projects stuck

According to Gadkari, road projects worth INR 60,000 crore are stuck as there are ongoing disputes in the Supreme Court and High Courts. The Department is also against carrying out a social impact assessment, which is mandated under the new Act to identify families that would be affected if land was acquired. The Department is implementing the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, a $90-billion mega infrastructure project, with financial and technical aid from Japan.

The Government has also approved the Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, which could all get delayed if the new Land Acquisition Act is not amended, the official added. The new Act came into force this January, replacing the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, with the objective of giving fair compensation to farmers.

Source-On Request