Parties fail to agree on land acquisition bill

An all-party meeting on the long-delayed legislation on land acquisition failed to arrive at a consensus on how to compensate holders of land acquired for infrastructure and industrial projects.

The government is seeking early passage of the land acquisition bill that would speed up some of the major projects hampered by protests and slow process of acquisition.

The land acquisition bill that will do away with some of the current powers of the government to decide on the compensation element will also be a potential vote winner for the ruling UPA at the general election due next year.

The bill, which was approved by the cabinet in December 2012, has undergone 160 amendments and still faces opposition in Parliament.

"The meeting is inconclusive," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said after the meeting. "This is an important piece of legislation. We are trying to evolve as much consensus as possible, if not unanimity."

The new bill is opposed by business, as it would oblige them to pay more – up to four times in urban areas and double in rural areas - for land they acquire.