AP to dilute Land Acquisition Act 2013

  • Set to drop or simplify some provisions
  • Social Impact Assessment period to come down to 15 days from 60 days

 Dara Gopi

Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to make amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, popularly called Land Acquisition Act 2013.

Though the Narendra Modi government itself had proposed changes to this Act to simplify the severity of the conditions in the Act, it could not do so as Rajya Sabha had rejected it. Following this, the States are making changes to the Act, modifying the critical clauses to suit to their needs.

It was the Gujarat government that had taken the initiative to change the Act followed by Telangana. Now, the Andhra Pradesh government is set to follow suit and make amendments that help the government acquire the lands.

The AP government had set a target of acquiring over 14 lakh acres in all the 13 districts for industries, industrial corridors, ports, airports and food parks. There has been severe resistance from the people in land acquisition while the Opposition parties, particularly the Left have been insisting upon the government to follow the provisions of Land Acquisition Act 2013. The government had found the clauses of this Act very critical and hence decided to amend them.

The governments which are pro-industry and are set to give lands for the industrial establishments are finding the three clauses of the 2013 Act as barrier. The 2013 Act insists upon the governments to take the consent of the farmers, get the approval of the respective gram panchayat and do the social impact assessment in the area in 60 days.

The governments are finding it near to impossible to get the consent of the farmers for the land acquisition in majority cases. Similarly getting the respective gram panchayats to pass a resolution in favour of acquisition has also become a tough task for the governments. The 60-day period of conducting social impact assessment to assess the livelihood threat to the agriculture workers and others who are depending on these lands is also causing unrest leading to a major block for the governments.

Keeping these factors into consideration, the AP government is planning to add a new clause giving exemption from the original clauses of farmers’ consent and the gram panchayat resolution for land acquisition for certain purposes. This include infrastructure development, electricity, rural development, housing, industrial corridors and projects proposed under public-private partnership. These projects would not require getting the consent of the farmers and the approval of the respective grama panchayats and it would make the government easy to take the lands through the respective district Collector. The government is also contemplating to bring down the time of 60 days for the social impact study to 15 days and announce a compensation and rehabilitation to the oustees.

These amendments would give a free hand to the State government to take lands from the people and give them to the industrialists as proposed. The AP government has been planning to go for land acquisition in a big way for ports, airports and industrial corrodors across the State.

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