The Trinamool Congress, a major ally of the ruling UPA at the Centre, has given its nod for the introduction of the Draft Land Acquisition Bill. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said many modifications had been made to the draft, and the Centre could go ahead with the Bill if it gave the States a free hand to implement their own land policy.

She was addressing a press conference with Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh after an hour-long meeting at the Secretariat here. Mr. Ramesh said the draft, which would be introduced in Parliament after Cabinet approval, got Ms. Banerjee's “broad support, especially the rehabilitation and resettlement aspect.” “It can be introduced, and the Standing Committee will discuss all the points,” she said. “We will give our opinion when the discussions begin.”

This was Mr. Ramesh's second visit to Ms. Banerjee since July 30 to get her approval of the legislation.

Ms. Banerjee said the State's land policy, now being finalised, stipulated a hands-off approach to acquisition for purposes other than for reasons of natural calamity or security concerns.

“We are against any acquisition by the government, but we have noted that changes have been made in this draft, and we have no objections, provided we are allowed to implement our own land laws.”

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