Land acquisition bill in Rajya Sabha Wednesday

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) The much-awaited land acquisition and rehabilitation bill would be taken up for debate and voting in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday.

The bill, which has been renamed "The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2012", has already been passed by the Lok Sabha on Aug 29 with 216 votes in favour and 19 against it.

The bill rests on three main pillars - namely consent through a well-defined process, compensation and rehabilitation, an official release said Tuesday.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had assured the Lok Sabha before the passage of the bill that the measure allowed enough room for state governments to implement it as per their requirements.

"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 had said.

The bill introduces a number of unprecedented and far-reaching safeguards to protect an individual's right to his or her personal property from arbitrary and indiscriminate acquisition, the statement said.

The new bill proposes that farmers and landowners be paid up to four times the market value for land acquired in rural areas and two times the market value in urban areas.

The other significant aspect of the bill is that the consent of 80 percent of land owners is needed for acquiring land for private projects and of 70 per cent landowners for public-private projects.

The bill also defines "public purpose" to include: mining, infrastructure, defence, manufacturing zones, roads, railways, highways, and ports built by government and public sector enterprises, land for project-affected people, planned development and improvement of village or urban sites and residential purposes for the poor and landless and government-administered schemes or institutions, among others.

Introduced in 2011, the bill was scrutinised by a parliamentary panel that submitted its report in May 2012.

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