This Article is From Oct 16, 2012

Group of Ministers clears Land Acquisition Bill

New Delhi: The Land Acquisition Bill will have a provision for consent of two-third of land owners for acquiring land but no contentious retrospective clause as per the draft approved by a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday after overcoming sharp differences.

The final draft of the long-delayed bill will now be placed before the Union Cabinet and is likely to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament. The draft of the bill approved by the Sharad Pawar-headed GoM now proposes consent of two-thirds of "land losers" (from whom land would be purchased) for acquiring land for public-private-partnership and private projects for public purpose, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

"The basic structure remains. Two-thirds consent of land owners is essential for PPP and for private projects for public purpose. There was consensus that the two-thirds consent clause should be there.

"Only after the two-thirds consent, the government acquires land for PPP or private projects for public purpose. Social Impact Assessment (SIA) provision remains," Mr Ramesh said after the meeting.

It has no retrospective clause and instead there will be a cut-off date to be decided later, he said.

"There is no clause about retrospective effect. You cannot have two laws operating at the same time. You cannot have one type of acquisition taking place under the 1894 Act and another sort taking place under the new Act. Therefore, we have to now think of a mechanism. We will have a cut-off date," Mr Ramesh said.

The GoM has been divided on these aspects, with a number of ministers opposing the retrospective clause as well as the original proposal for 80 per cent consent by both "livelihood losers and land losers" before land could be acquired.