Land bill in cabinet today, changes propose retrospective application

FP

In another major change, the revised bill seeks to reserve 20 per cent of land for those whose land is being acquired for "urbanisation purposes". This provision will bind state governments to reserve land acquired for expansion of cities.

In an attempt to allay the fears of industry that the new law could stretch the acquisition process, the amendments seek to tighten the time-frame for completing the entire process to within one year from two years in the original bill. Clear schedules for the various assessments required for acquisition have also been proposed.

The revised bill stipulates 80 per cent consent for acquisition for private projects, 70 per cent consent for PPP projects and no consent for infrastructure projects fully owned and executed by the government. Acquired land will be returned to owners if it is not used for five years instead of the earlier 10 years.

Deo: Forest dwellers' rights being violated

Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo has lamented that the Environment Ministry fails to ensure the process of granting land ownership to tribals under the Forest Rights Act is completed before allowing forest land to be diverted for industrial projects. In a letter to Jayanthi Natarajan, Deo has said the FRA is not "anti-development". "Some may argue FRA compliance will delay projects. This does not appear correct. In fact, it is ignoring and violating rights of forest dwellers that will lead to delays, litigation and conflict. We only have to see the large number of projects that are stalled by protests and court cases to understand that 'short-cuts' benefit no one, in addition to being illegal." ENS

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