Chandigarh: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Friday said that forcible acquisition of land was now "history" under the new land law
Addressing media here, Ramesh said: "The new Land Acquisition Act provides just value for the acquired land and also takes care of rehabilitation and resettlement issues. Forcible land acquisition is now history."
Elaborating on the various provisions of "The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013", the minister said that the earlier law, which was 119 years old, needed a comprehensive review "as it was non-democratic".
He said that as the new law was under the concurrent list, states could improve upon the quantum of compensation as well as other provisions in favour of the land owners and farmers but the central law provided a bench mark.
"Governments will now not be able to retain the acquired land beyond five years as that would render it liable for returning the land to the farmers/owners. Also, it won't be possible now to sell the acquired land for a purpose other than the public purpose. If done so, 40 percent of the additional value will have to be given to the land owners," said Ramesh.
Pointing out that the priority of the Act would be to acquire barren and unproductive land, Ramesh said that there had been a specific request from the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Kerala to consider the case of states which have most of their area under multi-crop irrigation.
"Irrigated multi-crop land could be acquired only as a demonstrative last resort," he said.
Ramesh said that farmers will benefit from the new land acquisition act, which will not only provide compensation to those whose land is acquired but also to the landless and the tillers who lose their livelihood.
He said that earlier agitations in various states against land acquisition were owing to faulty land acquisition system.