Nitin Gadkari hints at amendments to land acquisition Act

Rural development minister Nitin Gadkari indicated that the government may change some provisions of the farmer-friendly land acquisition law, introduced by the previous Congress party-led government, to address concerns of the industry such as the rising cost of acquiring land and procedural delays. The minister, however, said sections of the law that deal with compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement would not be changed. Gadkari’s comments came after a meeting with state revenue ministers in New Delhi. The states that sent representatives included Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. Many state ministers who attended the meeting expressed reservations about many clauses in the law, barring the provisions relating to compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement, Gadkari said. “We will take the suggestions of the state governments on board, compile all of them and present the report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next 10 days,” Gadkari said, adding that he had assured the states that his ministry would seriously consider all their suggestions. “If needed, we will take the suggestions to cabinet, and if needed we will then take it to Parliament (for incorporation).” Amendments to the new land acquisition law may make it easier for companies and the government to acquire land from farmers, speeding up the implementation of stalled projects. Projects worth billion of dollars, including South Korean steel maker Posco’s $12 billion (around Rs.72,000 crore) factory in Odisha, have been delayed because of problems related to acquisition of land.

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