NewZNew (New Delhi) : Strongly pleading that land should not be acquired by government without the consent of the farmers and the land owners, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Government of India (GoI) to adopt Punjab Land acquisition policy as a role model for national policy on the proposed Land Acquisition Bill-2015.
Expressing these views during a high level meeting of the Chief Ministers convened by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi at his official residence 7 Race Course Road here today, the Chief Minister thanked Mr. Modi for calling this meeting on a very crucial subject as agriculture was today facing a serious crisis in the country. Moreover, he said that, agriculture was a losing profession resulting in heavy debt and farm suicides. In the light of this grim scenario the Land Acquisition Bill 2015 has caused great concern in the minds of farmers and farm labourers, he added.
The Chief Minister however said that the general perception in the minds of the farmers was that this bill was anti-farmers. Mr. Badal said that he was of firm view that land acquisition, whether for state or central projects should be left to the state governments and this land should be acquired only with the consent of owners, solely for the public purposes.
Outlining the salient features of the time tested Punjab land acquisition policy, the Chief Minister apprised Mr. Modi that Punjab had a land acquisition policy which has been so far totally smooth, peaceful and hassle free. He said that under this policy land was acquired with the consent of the owners and the farmers were paid market price plus displacement allowance. Mr. Badal said that in order to pay market price district price fixation committees have been set up which included local MP, MLA, Sarpanch and the head of Municipal Committee.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also enumerated the advantages of Land pooling policy being followed in the state adding he said that when land was acquired for residential/ commercial projects under this policy the land owners were free to choose for market price or 1000 square yards of residential areas and 121 square yards of commercial area in the developed property for every acre of land acquired. Under another policy the owners of the acquired land have been given option to choose between the market price or 80% share in the profit of real estate project undertaken on this land. In this way, Mr. Badal said that the land owners become partner in the development process.
The Chief Minister also proposed that social impact assessment clause should apply to all acquisitions to ensure the process of Land Acquisition far more fair, transparent and accountable. Responding to other agenda items, Mr. Badal urged the centre to frame rules after the bill finally becomes an Act. He said that the state government has already fixed the multiplication factor besides appointing Administrators and Commissioners for Rehabilitation and Settlement. He further informed that Punjab was in the process of setting up state monitoring committee and notifying the extent of land purchased through private negotiations for rehabilitation and resettlement purposes. Replying to another item, the Chief Minister said that there was no Act which required fresh Presidential ascent in the state.