Window of relief for state infra agencies

Land Acquisition bill pushed to Budget session, agencies like CIDCO work overtime to save inflated rehab costs

The deferring of the Land Acquisition, Relief and Rehabilitation Bill, 2011 to the Budget session of Parliament has come as a relief for many Maharashtra agencies involved in Infrastructure development. It has given them a window to speed up land acquisition before the bill becomes a law and inflates land acquisition cost manifold.

The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), for instance, will have to dish out Rs 20,000 crore as rehabilitation package for a single project like the Navi Mumbai Airport. CIDCO officials are working overtime to come up with a rehab package before the Budget session. "We are hopeful of finalizing the package with the project affected people before February," CIDCO vice-chairman and managing director Tanaji Satre said.

Officials of CIDCO, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Public Works Department (PWD) are sweating about the repercussions the bill will have on the Navi Mumbai Airport project.

The bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in July proposes a "compensation not less than twice the market value for urban areas, and not less than six times the original market value for rural areas".

CIDCO officials claim that if the bill is cleared, it will have to draw up a rehab package close to Rs 20,000 crore for the Navi Mumbai Airport project. The cost of the airport project is pegged at around Rs 12,000 crore.The Navi Mumbai Airport, planned to ease load on the Mumbai airport, will be spread over 2,020 hectares. Of this, 1,596 hectares have been acquired. CIDCO needs to shift around 3,000 families from 10 hamlets to acquire the remaining 424.The state government has not yet announced a rehabilitation package for those displaced by the airport and discussion is still on with the affected parties, who are seeking Rs 20 crore per acre. CIDCO is not ready to give this amount.

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