Fresh all-party meeting on land takeover bill April 18

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Consensus eluded an all-party meeting on the land acquisition bill Tuesday, forcing the government to fix another meeting April 18.

“We have some minor differences and have decided to meet again on April 18,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the meeting at Parliament House.

Nath said all parties were asked to give their suggestions by April 15. These would be circulated April 16, ahead of the next meeting.

The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, seeks to address problems of the industry regarding acquisition of land for setting up projects.

The bill provides for land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced people. It proposes to replace the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Nath said though parties were largely of the opinion that the bill should be passed at the earliest, they had some suggestions.

Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the bill was earlier with the parliamentary standing committee and certain amendments had been moved but the government failed to incorporate these amendments.

She said her party’s stand was that acquisition should not be the only way to acquire land.

“Leasing of land would be a better proposition so that the farmer gets regular annual income. In this way, the land would go back to the farmer if it is not used,” she said.

Her party also objected to the definition of the term “public purpose” in the bill as it was “very wide”.

“But I am very hopeful that a consensus would be arrived at,” she said.

The bill seeks to provide for a fair compensation to land owners in both rural and urban areas with the stipulation that consent of 80 percent of the people for acquiring land for private industry was necessary.

Earlier, the bill’s consideration was deferred by the Lok Sabha in the winter session till the budget session under pressure from opposition members. It was referred to the standing committee.

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