The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill has passed the Lok Sabha test and the Land Bill ordinance is soon going to be passed by the PM. With all the turbulence stating of amendments has brought to the country, the real estate sector is also touched upon immensely.
Vikas Raj Sharma, Managing Director, Cosmic Group, is optimistic about the developments which have been tabled in the Lok Sabha. The existing Act keeps 13 acts for Land Acquisition for Central Government Projects out of the purview. These are applicable to the projects of national highways, metro rail, atomic energy projects, electricity related projects, etc. The amendment stated brings all these under the purview of this Act for the purpose of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement.
Vikas Raj Sharma is hopeful about the changes the Bill is going to bring about. He said, “Modi-led government is development-oriented. The proposed changes which include amendments in compensation and rehabilitation will surely improve the situation of the displaced.”
A fast track process has also been allowed for defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including projects taken up under Public Private Partnership mode where ownership of the land continues to be vested with the government.
Now multi-crop irrigated land can be acquired for purposes like national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and building social infrastructure.
Contrary to the above amendments which have brought respite to many displaced citizens, the following amendment was a setback for many. The existing Land Acquisition Act has a consent clause for acquiring land which includes industrial corridors, Public Private Partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence. But the stated amendments have exempted these five categories from the rule of acquitting land.
Social impact assessment has now been exempted in the Bill tabled in the Lok Sabha. According to the existing Act, it was mandatory before acquitting land. Another point of contention is that the existing Act states that land will be given back to the farmer if it remains unused for five years. But the amendment stated restricts the condition and states that the land will be returned only if the specified project on the land fails to complete the deadline. The new clause has also made government sanction compulsory to prosecute civil servants, unlike earlier when bureaucrats could be punished if found guilty of violating any clause of the Land Act.
Vikas Raj Sharma also said, “The consent clause amendments can be a setback for many awaiting ears. But the national good is the primary responsibility of all citizens. A never-before like development awaits us all”.
The proposed amendments have come as a mixed bag, offering newer reliefs but also limiting the reliefs which had been offered in previous bills.