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Land ahoy? Not yet

On the land acquisition Bill
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First Published: Wed, Apr 10 2013. 12 18 AM IST
Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
The all-party meeting on the contentious land acquisition Bill on Tuesday remained inconclusive. Another is scheduled for 18 April.
What has held up progress in arriving at a consensus? On the surface, it is usual suspects such as the definition of public purpose for acquiring land—held by many to be too wide. Then, there is the issue of compensation for land.
The real reason lies elsewhere: in the past five years, various activists, many of them having deep influence over the government, have whipped up such hysteria on the issue that no political party dare support the Bill. Even parties that agree with the Bill are forced to suggest solutions that make no sense.
For example, it has been argued that instead of an outright sale of land by farmers, land should be leased to actual users. This will only create a class of rent-seekers, creating a new set of problems. A compromised law is worse than none.
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First Published: Wed, Apr 10 2013. 12 18 AM IST
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