TELANGANA

Land Acquisition Bill passed after heated debate

The Legislative Assembly on Wednesday witnessed a heated debate over the passage of a Bill paving way for land acquisition for crucial projects, including the irrigation projects and those vital for national security.

Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao, who introduced the Bill - The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Telangana Amendment) Bill 2016 - said it has been introduced in view of the problems faced by the government in acquiring land for vital projects through the existing Central Act.

The new Bill would enable the collectors to pass an award for acquiring land after taking consent of the interested persons without making an enquiry, besides enabling the government to acquire land for any public purpose by entering into an agreement.

The government would be empowered to acquire land specified for the projects by paying lump sum amount in lieu of rehabilitation and resettlement and the Act was necessitated to confer certain benefits on the owners of the land and the affected families.

Opposition leader K. Jana Reddy, however, expressed doubts on whether the State was empowered to make amendments to an Act passed by the Central government even though the issue was under the concurrent list. “Will the Act stand legal scrutiny?” he asked. Quoting from Section 107 and 108 of the Central Act, he said the clauses empowered the State to pass its own legislation relating to land acquisition if it was prepared to offer better compensation, but the State was not empowered to amend the Central Act passed by the Parliament.

He wanted the government to bring in a new legislation outlining the modalities relating to the compensation that would be offered to the project affected families instead of giving scope for people to approach courts. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, however, clarified that the government had brought in the legislation with necessary safeguards and powers granted to the State under the Constitution.

TDP member A. Revanth Reddy raised objection to the incorporation of a clause with retrospective effect from January 2014, the time when Telangana State was not in existence, while land acquisition for projects taken up through the public private partnership mode had also been included in the Act.

“Chapter 2 and 3 of the Central Act had been incorporated with a view to ensure food security and made it mandatory to exempt land with two crops a year from acquisition. The government has also done away with obtaining the consent of the gram sabhas in the acquisition process,” he said.

Mr. Harish Rao, however, refuted the claims and alleged that the Congress was against empowerment of farmers and development of irrigation projects in Telangana. This was evident from the fact that some Congress leaders, unsuccessful contestants of the previous elections, approached courts against Palamur Ranga Reddy lift irrigation scheme that was aimed at catering to the needs of Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts. By filing cases in the name of dead, the Congress was trying to create legal complications for the projects, he alleged.


Making land acquisition easy

  • The new Bill enables the collectors to pass an award for acquiring land after taking consent of interested persons without making an enquiry

  • It enables the government to acquire land for any public purpose by entering into an agreement

  • It empowers government to acquire land specified for the projects by paying lump sum amount in lieu of rehabilitation and resettlement