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Companies and states oppose Land Acquisition Bill

Published & Updated as on - 2011-11-16

It's not only the industry, even the state governments are opposing the proposed land acquisition bill, which if implemented, will push up the cost of projects manifold. The chief ministers have scheduled a meeting to discuss the bill and forward their suggestions to the central government.

If the proposed bill is made into a law, it will be a severe setback to industrial, infrastructure and urbanization projects, top officials from real estate, construction and manufacturing sectors said at the World Economic Forum.

It was felt that there is a strong need to overcome the trust deficit between the government, businesses and civil society. There was also the need to have a constructive dialogue between land sellers and buyers to overcome land-based conflict that could lead to an equitable growth, the panelists agreed.

Majority view was that if the new bill is passed, both, the private sector and the government projects would become difficult to implement since the cost of land acquisition will rise by multiples since the bill proposes the purchase price to be at least six times the current market price. "Even the government will find it very tough to carry out even infrastructure projects," said Ratnakar Gaikwad, chief secretary, Maharashtra. However, he asserted that most projects are built on marginal, un-irrigated land, and said fertile land is not generally acquired.

Ajit Gulabchand, CMD, Hindustan Construction Company, feared that if the consent of 80% of those likely to be affected by a project is to be obtained before acquiring a land, the whole process of land purchase can carry on indefinitely.

Navin Raheja, MD, Raheja Developers, raised the issue at a session with chief ministers and said the proposal in the draft bill will make projects unviable. The chief ministers including Prithviraj Chavan of Maharashtra, acknowledged the problem and assured a patient hearing.

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi16/11/2011

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