Friday, July 22, 2011

Haryana puts land acquisition plan on hold

NEW DELHI: In a move to silence rising political criticism and protests over compensation and land issues, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday put on hold the process of acquiring land till Centre introduces an amendment to the Land Acquisition Act.

The state government will not go ahead where the land acquisition process has been initiated since this February. The move came a day after the state issued notification under Section-4 (intent to acquire) in Bawal and Rewari to acquire 3,766 acres for the development of a multi-modal logistic hub. This is one of the early bird projects relating to the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project.

Sources said Friday's decision to defer the process could bring some respite to farmers and landlords who have fertile land. Apart from some local protests, Opposition has tried to pressure Hooda as well. Despite the Haryana model being held up by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Hooda is playing safe.

The announcement of the order also gains significance in light of the recently held coordination meeting on land acquisition in the capital where a demand was raised that no fertile land should be acquired for industrial development.

Sources in the Centre said the proposed amendment bill could put the need to acquire fertile land for development as the least priority. Some of the state level leaders in Haryana have openly demanded the need to spare fertile land for industrial development.

Meanwhile, to ensure that the recent state government directive does not affect the infrastructure development, an official statement said that this order will not be applicable in cases of land acquisition for projects such as roads, sewerage system, canals, water channels, drainage system and power.

It said that that the state revenue secretary, who functions as the nodal official for all land acquisition-related activities, has been asked to issue necessary instructions.

In the recent months, Haryana government has issued notifications under Section-4 to acquire land in Daruhera, Rewari and other parts of the state. While Hooda's direction has been welcomed by his critics, the CM's supporters have claimed this as a landmark and that other states should follow this.


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