Categories: Editorial

Land Acquisition Policy Made More Attractive

THE state has finally come out with a land acquisition policy which will help the government to acquire land for public purposes at market rates. Procurement will be subject to voluntary consent of land owners and payment of entitlements. The policy would be valid only for public projects undertaken by the government and not for any private projects, including those under public-private partnership. The government was forced to come out with a more attractive policy after having failed to acquire land for the last three years. The new policy will empower the government to buy land or even take it on lease in the shortest possible time. Besides, the policy makers have used the provisions in the central Act and simplified the cumbersome land acquisition exercise. The state government can enter into agreement for purchase of land from a private owner after obtaining his voluntary consent.
These new provisions in the policy would reduce the indefinite time taken for the process of land acquisition; the process could now be completed in a short span of three months. The state land procurement policy also has a provision for paying the land owner at least one per cent above the total consideration amount after paying him all his due entitlements under the law. The simpler process and attractive market rates would help the government in acquiring land easily than it was possible under the old Act which has since been repealed. The private land owners would now get better compensation and might not object to government taking their land for public purposes. Besides, there is also a provision in the policy for payment of additional compensation for loss of house, cattle shed, or agriculture land on the land sought to be acquired by the government. There is also a provision for rehabilitation of the person whose land is acquired either within that land or within the vicinity of 1 km to 5 km on any government land, which would go a long way in getting a positive response from land owners to give their land for public purpose.
The government has also chosen to make the land acquisition process simpler. The district collector has been charged with the purpose for completing the process and calculating the compensation to be paid to the land owner. To make the policy more attractive and get the land easily the government has proposed to use the multiplication factor “2” while calculating the price of the land purchased in a rural area, which would mean that the land would fetch double the market rates in rural areas. Though in the urban areas multiplication factor “1” would be used for the land to be bought, the same would be doubled by way of providing 100 per cent solatia. To further make it attractive for the land owners the policy has a provision under which the land owner would be entitled for 12 per cent interest from the day the consent of the owner of the land is taken till such time the sale deed is signed and amount paid besides getting added compensation for additional assets such as trees, crops or house on the land. In what could be described as bonus, land owners or land losers would also get an additional incentive from the government for sale of land expeditiously.
The government has tweaked many provisions in order to make land acquisition attractive and faster and hopefully should not encounter problems in acquiring land. This is perhaps the best ever proposition that the government could offer to the land owners. Given the fact that a number of government projects have been put on hold for want of land, be it road widening or construction of buildings or bridges, it was necessary that the government come out with some attractive proposal to get the land for public projects. While the new policy is appealing it has been more attractive by a provision for additional compensation and rehabilitation too if required. The government should now be able to overcome resistance from land owners in getting the land. It remains to be seen whether the land owners would come forward to part with the land, whose rates have been sky rocketing over the years since the land is limited in the state. The government ought to ensure that the whole process was transparent and no red tape was involved in the process. Besides, those affected by land acquisition should be expeditiously resettled so as to send message to others that they would not have to fend for themselves after having parted with the land.

nt

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