New rehabilitation policy for farmers approved

New rehabilitation policy for farmers approved


New Delhi: Amid an outcry over land acquisition for SEZs and other projects, the Centre today approved a national policy providing for allotment of land in return of land, besides preference to affected families for jobs in the projects coming up on their plots.

The National Policy on Rehabilitation and Resettlement, 2007, replacing the policy of 2003, was cleared at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters after the meeting that the government would bring a legislation to amend the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 to implement the new policy.

The benefits provided in the policy include allotment of land to the extent available with the government in resettlement areas and preference in employment to at least one person from each nuclear family affected by the project.

There will be special provision for STs and SCs in the rehabilitation package.

A National Rehabilitation Commission will be set up as part of the policy and it will be empowered to keep “independent oversight over the rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected families," Dasmunsi said.

No project involving displacement of families beyond defined limits will be undertaken without a detailed Social Impact Assessment, which will take into account the effect of the project on communities and their common assets.

Policy to set up large number of special economic zones (SEZs) has met with stiff resistance from various political parties in several parts of the country, particularly in Left Front-ruled West Bengal. The protest was not only against the SEZ but also land acquisition for industrial projects like the one at Singur in the state.