MP makes it le­gal to dodge cash com­pen­sa­tion for land ac­qui­si­tion

India Today - - STATES - By Rahul Noronha

Two years af­ter the Cen­tre backed out of ef­forts to amend the Right to Fair Com­pen­sa­tion and Trans­parency in Land Ac­qui­si­tion, Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and Re­set­tle­ment Act, 2013 (com­monly re­ferred to as the Land Ac­qui­si­tion Act), the Mad­hya Pradesh govern­ment has amended a state law to deny cash com­pen­sa­tion to those whose lands have been ac­quired for pub­lic pur­poses in ur­ban ar­eas.

The MP Town and Coun­try Plan­ning (TCP) Act, 1973, has been amended to bring in pro­vi­sions of Trans­fer of Devel­op­ment Rights (TDR)—an in­cen­tive-based pro­gramme that al­lows landown­ers to sell devel­op­ment rights on their land to a de­vel­oper who can then use these rights to in­crease den­sity of devel­op­ment at other des­ig­nated lo­ca­tions. While of­fi­cials at the ur­ban devel­op­ment depart­ment main­tain that the amend­ment aims to un­lock the value of land marked ‘green’ on plans (in other words, land that has re­stricted use), the


amend­ment has had another im­pact— it de­nies cash com­pen­sa­tion to those whose lands lie within the plan area ac­quired for pub­lic pur­poses. A sec­tion has been in­serted that en­ables al­lot­ting devel­op­ment rights to the per­son whose land has been ac­quired. Sim­ply put, the govern­ment says it will grant en­hanced floor area ra­tio (FAR)—the ra­tio of plot area and per­mit­ted built-up area—and TDR to com­pen­sate for the loss of land.

Why does the govern­ment not want to pay cash com­pen­sa­tion as man­dated un­der the 2013 law? “The amend­ment will bring in greater devel­op­ment in cities through con­cepts such as TDR,” says state min­is­ter for ur­ban devel­op­ment Maya Singh, of­fer­ing no ex­pla­na­tion for why cash com­pen­sa­tion is be­ing de­nied. Off the record, of­fi­cials main­tain that the state govern­ment is sim­ply not will­ing to shell out huge sums of money while ac­quir­ing land for projects like road widen­ing within city lim­its. “The new land ac­qui­si­tion act of 2013 im­poses huge costs on devel­op­ment projects. The amend­ment in the TCP Act will of­fer other op­tions to those whose land is ac­quired,” says an of­fi­cial at the ur­ban devel­op­ment depart­ment.

How rel­e­vant con­cepts such as TDR are in MP towns—es­pe­cially in places like Bhopal, which has de­vel­oped hor­i­zon­tally over the decades, has large open spa­ces and few high­rises—is another mat­ter. What will a farmer do with en­hanced FAR and trans­fer­able devel­op­ment rights (other than sell his land to a builder) if his land lo­cated within ur­ban ar­eas is ac­quired? Will it be fair com­pen­sa­tion if s/he is not paid in cash?

ONE WAY Land taken over on the Bhopal- Hoshangabad road for widen­ing

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