Acquiring irrigated land at states' discretion: Ramesh

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) All decisions to acquire multi-crop irrigated land for setting up industries will be left to state governments, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said Thursday.

This decision was taken after Punjab and Haryana wrote letters saying most of their land was multi-crop and thus no industrial development will take place in case it is decided not to acquire such land, Ramesh said during a debate on the land acquisition bill in the Lok Sabha.

"This (the bill) is a middle path we have found. Groups were demanding separate things. It is wrong to say I have not consulted them," he said.

Ramesh said industrial houses, political parties and civil society have also been consulted. He added: "We have had to include everybody. So some compromises have to be made."

The minister said a provision of land leasing had been incorporated in the bill but the terms and conditions of that would be left to state governments.

Ramesh said the urgency clause for land acquisition about which many members were concerned, could be used only in two cases - matters related to natural calamities and national security.

Earlier, Biju Janata Dal member Tathagata Satapathy said: "Rehabilitation policy should be accommodated in a separate chapter".

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's M. Thambi Durai said the government was bringing in the legislation for its election manifesto. "Otherwise, this is the domain of the state government," he said.

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