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Guj dilutes Land Act, discards ‘consent’ clause on acquisition

Diluting the stringent provisions of the Centre’s Land Acquisition Act 2013, the BJP government in Gujarat on Thursday secured the passage of a bill in the Assembly doing away with social impact assessment and consent clauses for acquisition of land for public purposes and industrial corridor.

‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2016’ was passed in the Assembly in the absence of the opposition Congress MLAs, who were suspended for two days by the Speaker yesterday.

One of the key provisions of the bill is doing away with Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for projects related to Defence and social sectors, such as building air base, defence manufacturing units, schools, roads, canals, affordable houses, etc.

The other key change is that SIA will not be carried out for land acquisition for industrial corridor.

Another key amendment is doing away with the provision of consent of affected parties. As per the original central Act, 80 per cent of land owners must give their nod for the acquisition of land.

As per the new bill, these provisions will not be followed if the land is acquired for public purpose. However, it will remain in place for acquisition related to industrial development.

Giving rationale behind bringing in such provisions, state Health Minister and in-charge of Revenue portfolio Nitin Patel, who was speaking on behalf of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, said that it will take too much time for land acquisition if the current provision of Land Act is followed.
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