Pol parties reach consensus on Land Acquisition Bill

New Delhi: A broad consensus was reached among political parties on Thursday over the much-awaited Land Acquisition Bill after the government gave in to a key demand of BJP for 50 per cent compensation to farmers and sorted out certain other sticky issues.
 
The consensus paves way for consideration and passage of the significant but contentious bill in the second part of the budget session of Parliament beginning Monday.
 
"We have reached a broad consensus on the Land Acquisition Bill," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after a 90-minute meeting convened by him.
 
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj stated the same with a promise of not opposing the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, in Parliament.
 
The Bill proposes the payment of compensation that is up to four times the market value in rural areas and two times the market value in urban areas.
 
BJP wanted 50 per cent compensation to the original farmers whose land has been purchased after the introduction of the bill in Lok Sabha in September 5, 2011.
 
Raising the issue in the meeting, Swaraj said the "land mafia" was in land buying spree in many parts of the country after the introduction of the bill anticipating that the measure will be passed soon and they can reap benefits.
 
If it happens, the farmers who have sold land at a lesser price will not be benefitted from the Land Acquisition Act, she said and asked the Government to have a provision specifying that there will be sharing of 50 per cent benefit with the original farmers.
 
Government also agreed to another demand of the BJP, which had suggested that instead of acquisition, land could be leased to developers so that its ownership will remain with the farmers and would provide them with regular annual income.
 
The government agreed to amend the bill to provide for an enabling provision for states to enact laws in this regard as leasing of land is a state subject.