Union Cabinet clears Land Acquisition Bill

Villagers protest against land acquisition for POSCO’s steel plant in Odisha
Photo: Arabinda Mahapatra

New Delhi (PTI): The controversial Land Acquisition Bill was on Thursday cleared by Union Cabinet, making mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of people whose land is taken for private projects.

In the case of Public-Private Partnership projects, the bill makes mandatory obtaining of consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be for acquired. The bill was given the go-ahead at the Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmonan Singh. The bill was finalised by the Rural Development Ministry incorporating the suggestion of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who had asked the government to take the consent from 80 percent land owners for purchase of land for the purpose of setting up industries and PPP projects.

Sources had said that Gandhi was not in favour of the Group of Ministers’ proposal that the consent of two-thirds of “land losers” (from whom land would be purchased) was enough for acquiring land for industries and PPP projects. The GoM had suggested that the consent clause be kept at 67 per cent for PPP projects and private projects.

The government had constituted the GoM after some ministers voiced strong reservations against certain provisions of the bill at the Cabinet meeting. Minister of State for Rural Development Lalchand Kataria had on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that the government intends to introduce the official amendments to the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 in the Lok Sabha in the winter session. Kataria had also told the reporters that the bill has a
provision for return of the unutilised land. Land Acquisition Act, 1894 had no provision for return of the unutilised land.


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