Published: Friday 31 August 2007

The Group of Ministers on the draft resettlement and rehabilitation policy had its third meeting on July 19, where it considered increasing the state governments' role in land acquisition for private businesses. It recommended that states can purchase up to 30 per cent of the land required, while industries can acquire 70 per cent. Earlier, the Union ministry of rural development (mord) had proposed a 10 per cent ceiling (see 'Dead end on how to rehabilitate', Down to Earth, July 15, 2007).

The group recommended against allowing private parties to resell the land to a third party. If so, the original owner of the land should get 80 per cent of the net profit earned from the sale, once the project takes off. The group said the land owners should be compensated at market rates. This will be calculated as the average of the top 50 per cent of the land sale deeds in the area in previous three years or at the minimum floor rates fixed by the state government, whichever is higher. The group sought to set up a state level dispute-settlement authority to expedite settlement process on land acquisitions.

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