Land bill: Didi happy with rehabilitation package

Jairam Ramesh with Partha Chatterjee and Mamata Banerjee at Writers Buildings on Saturday

*CM sticks to the state's right to draft its own land policy

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a meeting with Union Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh agreed not to oppose the land acquisition amendment bill being tabled in the Parliament by the Central government on September 8. But she reserved the state's right to draft its own land policy and made it clear that in case there is any "difference" on projects taken up by the Central government in the state, the state land policy will prevail.

Significantly, Jairam Ramesh had visited Kolkata on July 23 for discussing the land acquisition draft bill with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. And on Saturday he held a second meeting with Banerjee and discussed the land acquisition draft amendment Bill.

Banerjee had raised objections on several counts including two major clauses. She had objected to the clause that government can acquire land for the private partner if it is a Public Private Partnership (PPP). Besides, she did not agree on the clause in which it was mentioned that land can be acquired if 80 per cent of the project-affected people give their consent to the acquisition. Even though, some of the clauses are changed, the clause of 80-20 remained unchanged in the draft.

After the meeting, Banerjee said, "The rehabilitation package of the Central government is good. The draft bill has also been modified to some extent, but we would have been more satisfied, if there were some other modifications. I today discussed the bill with the union minister. There are some areas on which we hold a different opinion and we will mention that in the Parliament. But we have made it clear that West Bengal will have its own land policy which is in final stage now, and that the state government under no circumstances will acquire land forcibly."

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