Land law: Congress steps up campaign

Jairam Ramesh accuses Gadkari of confusing the issue

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:29 pm IST

Published - April 02, 2015 02:42 am IST - New Delhi

Even as the Modi government moves towards the re-promulgation of a new Land Ordinance, the Congress fired yet another salvo against it, ahead of the mass rally it has planned here on April 19 to oppose it.

Party leader Jairam Ramesh wrote to Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, believed to be the chief architect of the BJP’s version of the new Bill, on Tuesday challenging the latter’s claims on the issue, terming them “incorrect and misleading.”

Questioning Mr. Gadkari’s statement, made in the course of an interview, that implied that the UPA had forgotten to make provisions for defence projects, Mr. Ramesh writes: “… it is farcical to suggest that the Congress-led UPA overlooked the requirements for defence. Had this been the case then no party would have supported the land acquisition Bill when it was being debated in Parliament. Acquisition for defence purposes has a special place in the law. Section 40 allows detailed exemptions for urgent situations and specifically accommodates acquisition carried out for defence.”

The letter is part of the Congress’s campaign to oppose the Bill, a campaign in which it hopes that a majority of the Opposition will support it. For the Modi government, that does not have the numbers in the Rajya Sabha, this intersession period is critical for it to explain its views.

Mr. Ramesh’s letter is a point-by-point rebuttal of the Modi government’s views on the Land Bill.

Here are the six important facts you need to know about the Land Bill. Source:

1 The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 seeks to Amend the Act of 2013 (LARR Act, 2013).
2 The Bill creates five special categories of land use: 1. defence, 2. rural infrastructure, 3. affordable housing, 4. industrial corridors, and 5. infrastructure projects including Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects where the central government owns the land
3 The Bill exempts the five categories from provisions of the LARR Act, 2013 which requires the consent of 80 per cent of land ownersto be obtained for private projects and that of 70 per cent of land owners for PPP projects.
4 The Bill allows exemption for projects in these five categories from requiring Social Impact Assessment be done to identify those affected and from the restrictions on the acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land imposed by LARR Act 2013.
5 The Bill brings provisions for compensation, rehabilitation, and resettlement under other related Acts such as the National Highways Act and the Railways Act in consonance with the LARR Act.
6 The Bill changes acquisition of land for private companies mentioned in LARR Act, 2013 to acquisition for ‘private entities’. A private entity could include companies, corporations and nonprofit organisations.
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