After the passage of labour law reforms, the government of rajasthan has proposed to amend the state’s land acquisition law, despite opposition from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s outfits Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. The government has invited suggestions by August 26 from the general public on the draft of the proposed law, aimed at making the process of acquiring of land faster. It also raises the compensation to farmers. The draft has also proposed stricter penalty and prison terms for those opposing acquiring of land. The penal provisions include a fine of Rs 10,000 to Rs 3 lakh and/or rigorous imprisonment for a period of three to six months.
The government plans to introduce the Bill in the next legislative assembly session. The draft has entrusted district magistrates with key roles in the process of land acquisition, including ascertaining the market value of the land, amount of compensation and other modalities of rehabilitation. It has also proposed a Land Acquisition Authority, to be chaired by a district judge with a minimum of 10 years experience, to be selected in consultation with the chief justice of the high court. The draft also says a private company cannot sell, transfer, gift or lease out such land without the government’s assent. At the same time, it aims to relax provisions that require consent of two-thirds of land owners of an area and also do away with conducting a social impact assessment study for core infrastructure projects like roads, power lines, bridges and pipelines. The compensation is likely to be increased to two and a half times in urban areas, and four times in rural areas. Rural Development Minister Gulab Chand Kataria chaired a three-member ministerial group that worked on the draft legislation. Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has said it would oppose the changes. Other farmer bodies are expected to do likewise.