New land act is wasting public money says DDA vice-chairperson
The new land acquisition act is potentially blocking authority projects and wasting public money, DDA vice-chairperson said in a letter to the urban development ministry, seeking exemption from the act.
The act — Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 — came in force at the beginning of this year and has put the authority in a "specially disadvantageous" position, said the vice-chairperson, Balvinder Kumar. According to Kumar, acquisitions have become very difficult and expensive under the new act.
It has also increased the cost of acquisition, which when added to the cost of rehabilitation and resettlement, raises the disposal cost of land and houses to an " astronomically high" level which is beyond the reach of lower and middle classes, he added.
"DDA and the public will lose thousands of crores worth of land if certain provisions of this act are not amended," Kumar said, pointing to the sub-section 2 of Section 24 of the act. Ac- cording to this section if after acquiring the land the authority does not take ownership or the land owner doesn’t get compensated even after 5 years the whole acquisition gets lapsed.
The act provides for payment of compensation on current market rates in urban areas and twice that amount in rural areas. The act also mandates a social impact study of the proposed project for which land is planned to be acquired.
"The spirit of the act is appreciable in the acquisition of large pockets of land, of say 500 acres or more. But if we have to conduct social impact studies in acquisitions of smaller acquisitions, such as lying of road or construction of sewage treatment plants. It will take us years to build roads or lay underground pipelines.
Balvinder Kumar Vice Chairman, DDA