Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Thursday told a delegation of farmers from Uttar Pradesh that his ministry is working on some modifications in the draft land bill which will spell out public purpose for land acquisition in clearer terms.
Ramesh, who heard farmers, including those from Bhatta Parsaul in Greater Noida which was rocked by anti-land acquisition protests earlier this year, said there was a view that rehabilitation and resettlement provisions in the draft bill should apply if land acquired is less than 100 acres.
The draft bill, which has been put out in public domain for suggestions, states that rehabilitation and resettlement provisions will apply when private companies buy at least 100 acres on their own and the company approaches government for partial acquisition for public purpose.
The minister said modifications in the draft will be put out in public domain soon.
Ramesh credited Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for expediting the process of the bill and said the provisions of the bill carried the impact of the party leader.
Gandhi had visited Bhatta Parsaul and carried out a march in western Uttar Pradesh where land has been acquired by the Mayawati government.
Farmers urged Ramesh to substantially increase the amount of annunity for farmers whose land is acquired under the proposed act.
The delegation, which was led by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, said the term of annuity should be increased from 20 to 33 years.
“The annuity should be increased from Rs.2,000 to Rs.12,000 per month. It should be given for 33 years. If a land owner has five sons, all of them should be provided similar benefits,” a farmer said.
The draft bill says that land owners will be given Rs.2,000 per month per family as annuity for 20 years, with appropriate index for inflation. It also provides for mandatory employment for one member of per affected family or Rs.2 lakh if employment is not offered.
The farmers said that builders and industrialists should acquire land at market rates on lease and terms of the agreement should be decided through consultations.
They said that a national organisation should be formed to keep a tab on any violation by state governments.