Lucknow: Even as opposition parties stoutly opposed the Centre’s land bill, Uttar Pradesh government has simplified the acquisition process under which land could be sold through a simple agreement between the seller and the buyer.

The mutually agreeable route for land acquisition was approved at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav here yesterday, official sources said today.

The initiative was taken keeping in mind the complexities and time-consuming procedures laid down under the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, they said.

The mutually agreeable route for procuring land from their owners was first adopted by the state government for the Lucknow Metro Rail Project.

This time the government was apparently forced to go for direct sale procedure to overcome problems in procuring land for Agra-Lucknow Expressway in certain belts of Hardoi, Agra and Kannauj.

The move is expected to pave the way for development and infrastructure projects that were held up because acquiring land for them under the existing act was proving to be a major hurdle for the implementing agencies.

The process would be available for all government departments, autonomous institutions, local bodies, boards and development authorities for public-private partnership projects.

The significant decision has come at a time when over a dozen opposition parties are up in arms against what they call an “anti-farmer” Land Acquisition Bill, which was passed last week in Lok Sabha.

Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party is in power in Uttar Pradesh, had earlier this month said that acquisition of farmers’ land by the Centre would not be allowed at any cost and the precious land of farmers could not be taken without their will.

Official sources said compensation for land acquired in urban areas will not be more than two times the market value /circle rate and in the rural areas, not more than four times the market value/circle rate of the land.

Land owners will also be paid for the property, trees and standing crops on their land. If land cannot be acquired through mutual agreement then action would be taken under the provisions of the 2013 Act and the concerning government orders, an official said.

He said the new land acquisition policy will do away with the complex procedure and present a better system for land acquisition which will ensure proper value of land, consent of sellers and rehabilitation of affected people.

At present the government acquires land under the Land Acquisition Act enforced by the UPA regime.

This entails notification of all land, followed by acquisition, possession, and finally construction. But, the new system proposes to bypass the four provisions of the existing Act.

Under the new provision, the land owner will be compensated for construction, crops and trees apart from the land.

Additional District Magistrates (Finance and Revenue) will be entrusted with the task of settling compensation for land costing up to Rs 10 crore, while for a higher value the decision will be taken by a committee headed by the respective district magistrate.

The committee would take care of rehabilitation and resettlement of people as well.

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