Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday expressed reservations about the new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, saying it would in particular pose hurdles in setting up industries and creating new dams.
The Bill was cleared by the Union cabinet in September and has now been sent to the joint legislative committee.
Quoting provisions of the Bill, such as the promise to pay five times the market price of land acquired, returning 20 per cent developed land to the owner and job guarantee for next 20 years, Pawar said that the Bill would hamper development work in the country and state. The Bill also provides that there should be 70 per cent consent of land owners for the acquisition and the state can step in for the remaining 30 percent.
Pawar, who had earlier pointed out lacunae in the Food Security bill proposed by the UPA government, said, “New projects contribute to state development. If the new land acquisition bill is passed, it will not let any industry or dams come up. I was the only one who opposed the Bill and I know that it will be passed in the Parliament as well. No new projects will come up,” said Pawar. He said that he was worried about the slowdown in development due to this Bill and had expressed his opinion in the cabinet.
He was speaking at a special seminar at the state legislature. He spoke on a range of issues including coalition politics, the need to set aside growing regionalism, state of food production in the country and the need for Mumbai’s growth.
Pawar said that coalition politics was here to stay and there was no wishing it away. He said that running a coalition government is an “art” and regional and political aspirations should not hurt government. “Regional division needs to be curtailed. When I go to Sangola to study the drought situation, people from Amravati call and complain that I’m paying attention to only one region,” said Pawar.
He said that during the eight years in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, he had not had a single point of disagreement with the PM. “We work by taking everyone into confidence. If I take a different stand, like about cotton exports, onion, sugar, it is respected and addressed. We had a meeting on these issues and the issues were resolved in one hour,” said Pawar.
Pawar said migrants have contributed to the state’s growth and development. “We also need to remember that Maharashtrians are living in other parts of the country,” he said. He added that a new green revolution was being seen in the eastern part of the country through paddy cultivation but Maharashtra has to worry as it was not producing enough grain even to meet its own needs.