New law replaces Land Acquisition Act 1894
Forced evictions become history after 120 years
The New Year ushered a new law replacing the 120-year old Land Acquisition Act 1894, ending to the government’s powers of forcible acquiescing and assuring appropriate compensation to farmers with transparency.
The Rural Development Ministry notified the rules framed under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act to bring it into force.
The new law provides for compensation at the rate of four times the market value in rural areas and twice in the urban areas and the land cannot be acquired unless this compensation has been already disbursed.
The state government has to also oversee the rehabilitation and resettlement undertaken by the private parties while buying land if it is more than 50 acres in the urban areas and 100 acres in rural areas.
Henceforth, neither the center nor any state government can forcibly take over the private land for any public works and projects, including roads, buildings, and industry, without the owner’s consent and that too after providing generous compensation and rehabilitation of those affected.
The Act makes mandatory the consent of at least 70 per cent land owners for acquiring their land for the government or public-private-partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for private projects.
Land is a state subject under the Constitution and hence the major role of the state governments begins now.
This is a good move and similar actions should be done for other acts which are very old and require revisit.