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At 2nd NITI Aayog Governing Council meet, CM affirms Guj’s support to Land Acquisition Bill 2015

While at Second Meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, Gujarat Chief Minister Smt Anandiben Patel today took a balanced stance on the amendments proposed in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, terming them as “well-considered” and “practical”. Welcoming the Central Government’s move to consider states’ major concerns and incorporating them suitably in the Amendment Bill, CM Smt Patel said that we support the measures that would reflect our motto of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”.

In her speech, CM Smt Patel thanked Hon’ble Prime Minister for his commitment to taking the states along as partners in national development and reiterated that her government stands with all progressive initiatives aimed at speedy development and overall national progress.

The meeting was convened to elicit views of the states on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Amendment Bill, 2015. Expressing her views on the subject, CM Smt Patel observed that the amendments proposed are well-considered and practical. The provision of mandatory employment to affected family shall ensure justice, prevent distress and provide a platform for social upliftment.

She stated that Gujarat supports any move that ensures fair compensation to farmers whose lands are acquired. She also suggested that arrangements should be put in place to assist farmers in utilizing the compensation amount to ensure their sustained benefit.

Pointing out that amendments to the Land Acquisition Act 2013 had become necessary only because of the time-consuming and complicated procedures, she commented that inordinate delay in infrastructure projects do not benefit anybody. Neither the farmers nor the project agency is benefitted by delays in project implementation.

CM Smt Patel further stated in her speech that provisions relating to the exclusion of infrastructure projects from the long process of Social Impact assessment, and other procedures are beneficial to the larger interest. The imperative of employment generation has also been accommodated by the amendment relating to industrial corridors whereas the relaxations accorded to projects for affordable housing will also benefit weaker sections of society.

All these provisions ensure a judicious balance between the valid interests of landowners and required pace of nation’s development, she noted. Land alone cannot meet the livelihood needs of a farmer and require irrigation facility, power, access to markets as well as social and economic infrastructure. Investments for additional employment are also required in rural areas. Land acquisition, thus, becomes necessary to fulfill these needs of our citizens, including farmers, CM Smt Patel told the gathering.

CM Smt Patel emphasized the inevitability of land acquisition to provide facility of irrigation, power, and roads for access to markets to the farming communities, when government land is not available. She pointed out that manufacturing sector is being developed because farm sector alone cannot provide the employment for the growing numbers of rural youth. Hence, she suggested that a broader view must be adopted that would ensure fair compensation for farmers as well as timely availability of land for development projects.

Ms S. Aparna, Principal Secretary (Planning) and other senior officials of Government of Gujarat attended the meeting.

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