The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the commerce ministry has proposed that government-led infrastructure projects, including PPP projects, be kept out of the ambit of the new Land Acquisition Act, in order to avoid delays in implementation of large projects such as industrial corridors and national highways.
DIPP has also sought relaxation in labour laws in the national investment and manufacturing zones (NIMZs), and has proposed that employers be allowed to remove workers without notice or compensation so long as they provide them alternative employment in the same zone, at the same pay and conditions of work.
DIPP in its submission to the rural development ministry has sought the scrapping of provisions such as mandatory consent of project-affected people for land acquisition in the case of infrastructure projects where the government has a stake.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act makes it mandatory for developers to obtain the consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be acquired for public-private partnership projects.
For private projects, the consent of 80 per cent of the displaced is mandatory for land acquisitions.
Minister for highways and roads Nitin Gadkari, who also holds additional charge of rural development, recently said that road projects worth Rs60,000 crore are stuck as there are ongoing disputes in the Supreme Court and high courts and changes needed to be brought about in the Land Acquisition Act to push forward these stuck projects.
The DIPP is also reported to have opposed the proposal for carrying out social impact assessment to identify families that would be affected by acquisition of land for projects as mandated under the new Act.
Gadkari said he had discussed various provisions of the Act with state governments and that the prime minister would take a final call on the matter.
The issue assumes importance in the context of the implementation of the $100-billion mega infrastructure Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, with financial and technical aid from Japan.
Besides, the government has also approved the Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, which could all get delayed if the new Land Acquisition Act is not amended.
The new Act came into force this January, replacing the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, with the objective of giving fair compensation to farmers.