Govt agrees to dilute land bill to ensure passage in Rajya Sabha

To ensure the passage of the Land Acquisition Bill in the Rajya Sabha the government has agreed to the dilution of certain key clauses of the legislation to muster support of the main opposition, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh is reported to have agreed to BJP leader Arun Jaitley's suggestions that retrospective effect and social impact assessment clauses should not apply for acquisition of land for irrigation projects.

The government and the opposition are also reported to be of the view that either compensation or rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) will be given to farmers whose land is acquired for irrigation projects.

However, farmers whose land is acquired for other projects will get the benefits of both compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement.

Ramesh had often said that the new bill will have retrospective clause to address "historical injustice," keeping in mind the Narmada project and the Sardar Sarovar Dam in BJP-ruled Gujarat, where farmers and land owners have had to make great sacrifices.

Also, the legislation was to cover all cases where land acquisition has been pending and in cases where the land was acquired five years ago but no compensation has been paid or no possession has taken place.