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UP frames 'India's best' land acquisition policy

Last updated on: September 3, 2010 19:07 IST

UP frames 'India's best' land acquisition policy

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow


With a view to containing the crisis arising due to the on-going farmers' agitation in western Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday chalked out a new farmer-friendly course.

Her cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh surprised all and sundry by announcing a new land acquisition policy with such lucrative sops that farmers may not find easy to refuse.

To defuse the crisis at Tappal, in Aligarh district, where three farmers died in police firing last month, the government withdrew its decision to set up the high-tech township along the proposed Yamuna Expressway passing through that town.

"We have come out with the best land acquisition policy in the country, keeping in mind the long-term interest and rehabilitation of affected farmers," said the cabinet secretary.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"No farmer's land will be acquired without his express consent under the terms of a written agreement," he told a press conference, adding, "and the price of the land will be finalised through a negotiated settlement between the government and the land-owner."

Singh said, "In addition to a mutually settled price, we also propose to offer the farmer a handsome annuity at the rate of Rs 20,000 per acre for a period of 33 years, during which period it would be given an annual hike at the rate of Rs 600 per acre. However every affected farmer would also have the option to go for a one-time payment at the rate of Rs 2.40 lakh (Rs 240,000) per acre."

"Besides, one member of the affected farmer's family would also be entitled to consolidated wages of Rs 1.85 lakh (Rs 185,000) towards employment for a period of five years," he added.

Yet another sop was a binding on the benefiting company (for whom land were to be acquired) to reserve 25 per cent of its shares for affected farmers, who would have the choice to go or not to go for the same.

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Photographs: Reuters
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According to the cabinet secretary, "Last but not the least, was the allocation of 7 per cent of the acquired land to let the affected farmers build homes for themselves."

It may be recalled that trouble had sparked off at Tappal essentially on account of farmers protesting against what they termed as 'grossly inadequate' compensation against their land acquired for the township.

"We are not against land acquired for building the expressway, but if the government wants to take our land for private developers to build a high tech township where property will be sold at sky-rocketing prices, then we must be paid compensation at the same rate that was govern to our counterparts in Greater Noida," leader of farmers action committee Mahendra Singh Tewatia told rediff.com over the telephone from Tappal on Friday.

"We were not against development, but we surely deserve a better deal," he stressed.


Image: UP Chief Minister Mayawati.
Photographs: Reuters
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