NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet’s decision to bring a land acquisition ordinance within a year of enactment of the law raises a question whether the government has restored its powers to acquire land as enshrined in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894

The UPA government had come up with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act from January 1, 2014 which gave district collectors the power to acquire land under emergency clause only for defence, national security and situation arising out of a disaster and that too after Parliament’s approval.

The law was opposed by most of the state governments, including Congress-ruled, on the ground that mandatory consent clause and social impact assessment (SIA) were delaying land acquisition and hampering economic growth. The states had found that their power to acquire land had been diluted under the new law.

Agreeing with the state governments, the Union cabinet on Monday exempted five broad sectors — national security/ defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and Public Private Partnership projects — from mandatory consent and SIA.

“Without having a discussion, the government has diluted the new land acquisition law and has taken it closer to the earlier law of 1894 which is very unfortunate,” said planning commission former member in-charge of rural development Mihir Shah.

Farmer groups termed the ordinance as “retrograde” saying that the land-owners will not have the right to say “no” to land acquisition even if it is being acquired for an industrial corridor or for setting up a project in a public private partnership mode.

“The ordinance will lead to forced acquisition of land as two provisions (consent clause and SIA) central to addressing the issue and resulting impoverishment to the communities has been done away with,” said a statement issued by National Alliance of People’s Movement on behalf of various civil society groups.

Courtesy: hindustantimes