“There’s need for more clarity in land Bill”

There is no major difference in views between the West Bengal government and the Centre on the draft Land Acquisition and Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill 2011 though there is need for clarity on some points, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said here on Sunday.

Mr. Ramesh discussed the draft Bill with Debabrata Bandyopadhyay, a former bureaucrat, a day after he held talks on Saturday with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mr. Bandyopadhyay was one of the two persons entrusted with the framing of a new land policy for the State.

In his discussions, Mr. Ramesh underlined the fact that the Bill provided for acquisition of land by the government for public companies for public purposes such as power plants, railways or port projects. “It does not envisage the government acquiring land for public companies for private purposes,” he emphasised.

“Broadly he is in sympathy with the approach we have taken…There are certain issues which we will certainly look into... There is no difference in views but there is need for some clarity in the Bill,” Mr. Ramesh said after meeting Mr. Bandyopadhyay at the latter's residence.

The most important point where more “clarity” is called for is the issue of land acquisition by the government for public companies for public and not private purposes.

“We agreed that there should be one legislation that integrates land acquisition and R and R [resettlement and rehabilitation package],” he added.

Ms. Banerjee had clearly stated her government's opposition to not just forcible acquisition of land from farmers but also to acquisition of land for private companies to set up industry. It is for the private companies to buy the land they might require for industry, she had said.

Her views find a reflection in the draft land policy for the State that has been formulated by a two-member committee set up by her. Mr. Bandyopadhyay is one of the members, the other being Somendra Nath Basu, a legal expert.

Pointing out that he had always looked up to Mr. Bandyopadhyay ever since they worked together in the Planning Commission, Mr. Ramesh said he had been given “a lot of useful suggestions” during their meeting.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:33:29 PM |

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