The Gujarat Land Acquisition Bill 2016 that dilutes the Centre's stringent provisions of the Land Acquisition Act 2013, has been given approval by the President and will be implemented by the state from Independence Day.
The Bill, that has done away with social impact assessment and consent clauses for acquiring land parcels for public projects, was passed by the state government in the Assembly during the last budget session amidst a walkout by Opposition members.
"President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the 'Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2016' on August 8," newly appointed Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told media persons in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
"Since it has been approved by the President, we are prepared to implement it from the Independence Day," Mr. Chudasama said, adding, "the new act will help in attracting investments in industrial and infrastructure projects in the state."
Mr. Chudasama claimed that the Bill is not anti-farmer as was being claimed by activists and civil society organisations but it "corrected many anomalies contained in the central act that was passed during the UPA government in 2013. We want to facilitate fast-paced growth but at the time, interests of farmers will not be compromised with," Mr. Chudasama added.
According to him, farmers will gain as compensation part has been kept unchanged. "In the urban areas compensation paid to land owners will be 100 per cent of the market value of the land, while in rural areas it would be 400 per cent," he said.
The Bill empowers the government or its entity to acquire land up to one km on both sides of designated railway tracks or roads to set up industrial corridors. Civil society organisations have said alleged that in any industrial area or corridor, the government will forcibly take over the lands along the railway tracks or roads and will sell the plots to industrial units at high prices while farmers will get only government determined compensation.
It may be noted that after coming to power in 2014, the Narendra Modi administration had brought in amendments to Land Acquisition Act-2013 but due to stiff resistance and opposition from opposition parties, it allowed the ordinance that was promulgated to be lapsed.
All the amendments that were brought by NDA government in the central act were part of the Bill that the Gujarat assembly passed in March 2016.