By Accommodation Times Bureau
Union Minister for Rural Development Shri Jairam Ramesh said that the new Land Acquisition Bill is not against industrialization and urbanization as there is no bar on purchase of private land. He said the new Act renamed as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013 will come into force only in such cases where the land will be acquired by Central or State Authorities for any public purpose. Briefing the media here, Shri Ramesh said, the new Act which will be notified within three months will be applicable to SEZ (Special Economic Zone) Projects and there will be no change in the land use except in certain cases through laid down procedures. He said, the thirteen Central Acts which are outside the purview of the new Act have to conform to the provisions of compensation and Rehabilitation and Resettlement package within one year of the coming into force of the legislation. He said, there is a balance in the new Act as it serves the interests of all sections of society. Terming the bill as a progressive piece of legislation, the Minister said it gives priority to the interests of the farmers, landless laborers, dalits and tribals, which he also termed as national interest. He also allayed the fears that the new Act gives absolute powers to the collectors as far as land acquisition, Award, compensation and rehabilitation are concerned and stated that unlike in the old Act, the above provisions have been clearly enunciated in the new law thus curtailing the discretionary powers of the District Magistrates.
Shri Ramesh criticized the Public Sector Undertakings for the large scale displacement of people particularly tribals in states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand for executing projects mainly mining and coal without adequate compensation and R&R package, which the Minister said is the main cause of growth of naxalism. He said, the era of forcible acquisition is over and added that if the new Land Acquisition Act is implemented properly, it will put an end to inhumane displacement of tribals from forests and check the Maoist problem.