Jayalalithaa opposes land bill, skips NITI Aayog meet

| Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 15:09
First Published |

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday expressed her government's opposition to the land acquisition bill, maintaining certain provisions take away the safeguards required for farmers in the country.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa expressed her inability to attend the second meeting of the Governing Council of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog in New Delhi on Wednesday due to other pressing engagements.

The meeting would deliberate on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and amendments sought to be brought about by the NDA government.

As the Niti Aayog meeting has to be attended only by the chief ministers of different states, Jayalalithaa sent her speech conveying the state government's views that are to be taken on record.

She said her government was opposed to Chapter III of Right to Fair Compensation and Tranparencey in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015. 

According to Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu farmers were strongly opposed to the provisions in the bill that empower state governments to exempt specified projects from the ambit of the Act.

Jayalalithaa said the amendment bill's provisions were hence also unacceptable to the government of Tamil Nadu.

"We believe that the present amendments take away important safeguards that farmers and agriculture require. Hence, I urge the government of India not to press ahead with these amendments," she said.

As per provisions of Chapter III, consent of 80 percent of the landowners have to be obtained if the land is acquired for private project. 

If the land is proposed to be acquired for public-private-partnership projects, then consent of 70 percent of the landowners is to be obtained.

Further, a social impact assessment has to be made and there are limits on acquiring agricultural and multi-cropped land.

However these provisions would not apply to projects in defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing and housing for the poor, industrial corridors, infrastructure and social infrastructure projects, including projects under public-private partnership, where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the government.

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