Land for in­dus­try may fetch six times more

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment on Fri­day sug­gested of­fer­ing farm­ers as much as six times the price of their land when ac­quired for in­dus­trial use. A draft of the law, which may help fast­track in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, has been re­leased.

The draft Land Ac­qui­si­tion Bill also pro­poses at least 80% of own­ers must con­sent to such ac­qui­si­tions, which may calm wide­spread protests against the gov­ern­ment’s ar­bi­trary takeover of land for in­dus­try at be­low-mar­ket rates.

Sev­eral multi-bil­lion dol­lar projects have been held up as farm­ers vi­o­lently op­pose the takeover and an­a­lysts have said the is­sue could stut­ter plans to ac­cel­er­ate In­dia’s eco­nomic growth to dou­ble-dig­its, as in China.

Such protests have halted the con­struc­tion of Posco’s $12 bil­lion steel mill in Orissa and held up the build­ing of tens of thou­sands of apart­ments out­side New Delhi that are needed to house a rapidly grow­ing ur­ban pop­u­la­tion, among oth­ers.

The cur­rent land ac­qui­si­tion law was framed over a cen­tury ago and al­lows the gov­ern­ment to take over land for a “pub­lic pur­pose” with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

“This draft bill seeks to bal­ance the need for fa­cil­i­tat­ing land ac­qui­si­tion for var­i­ous pub­lic pur­poses, in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and ur­ban­i­sa­tion while at the same time mean­ing­fully ad­dress­ing the con­cerns of farm­ers and those whose liveli­hoods are de­pen­dent on the land be­ing ac­quired,” a state­ment is­sued by the gov­ern­ment said.

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