New land acquisition law to benefit more farmers: Government

New Delhi: Government today sought to allay apprehensions on the Land Acquisition ordinance saying even farmers whose land was acquired for critical projects like atomic energy, petroleum and highways will also get compensation.

"By bringing this ordinance, we have done something which would benefit all the farmers," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

Observing that "more than half of the farmers were not to get benefit" in the earlier Land Acquisition Act, he said the Government included those 13 legislations (introduced by former Minister Jairam Ramesh) which were not under the purview of the previous law, to ensure that compensation is paid for the land acquired for projects under these laws.

Javadekar said through the changes, rehabilitation and resettlement and compensation provisions of the Act will be applicable to laws including Electricity Act, Resettlement of Displaced Persons Act, National Highways Act, Metro Rail Act, the Atomic Energy Act, the Indian Tramways Act, the Railways Act, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act and the Damodar Valley Corporation Act.

"The benefits of land acquisition to farmers would be more compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement in a better way. These provisions were under the purview of these 13 Acts," Javadekar said. However, when asked if his government was ready to bring in changes to the Act, he said he had not said that.

Congress has decided to oppose the land ordinance saying interests of farmers and livelihood losers would be "completely eliminated" if it becomes law as it reopens the route for forcible acquisition. Accusing the Modi government of antipathy towards farmers, social activist Anna Hazare today launched a two-day agitation against the controversial land acquisition ordinance here, coinciding with the commencement of the Budget session of Parliament.

When asked about the accusation of Anna Hazare that "ache din" has come for corporates and not common man, Javadekar said good days have come for everybody. He said that there would be discussion in the Parliament regarding how much land was acquired under the purview of earlier Act and that after the Ordinance was brought in.

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