Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday voiced reservations over various provisions of the Land Acquisition Bill which was taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha after much delay.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh moved the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency Bill, 2013 for consideration and passage in the Upper House. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 29.

The bill stipulates mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent for acquiring land for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private firms.

The House could take up the bill only after an impromptu discussion on the missing coal files issue as part of a compromise reached between the government and BJP to end the stand-off that was triggered as the Prime Minister had left immediately after making a statement.

Earlier, the Chair could not take up the bill as BJP kept raising the issue of missing coal block allocation files.

Initiating the debate on the bill, Vinay Katiyar (BJP) stressed the need to ensure that farmers have the right to appeal and demanded adequate compensation to farmers.

As land is the main source of livelihood for farmers, it was necessary to take 100 per cent consent for acquiring farm land for any purposes, he said.

He said that the land acquired if not used for more than five years should be returned to farmers and should not go to the government land bank.

He suggested removal of certain clauses, saying these were anti-farmer and suggested setting up of an authority and fast track courts for speedy disposal of land acquisition related disputes.

Mr. Katiyar said adequate compensation should be given to farmers. Even jobs and extra land should be given to farmers as part of the rehabilitation package.

He suggested population control saying land is scarce natural resources.

The bill will replace the archaic Act of 1894 which suffers from various shortcomings including silence on the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced due to acquisition.

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