At a time, when NDA government is working to push its Land Acquisition Bill in the Parliament seeking support of all parties, the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to make acquisition of “irrigated multi-cropped land” more difficult in the state.
The state government Tuesday fixed the maximum acquisition limit of agricultural land for various projects in any district at five per cent of the total irrigated or cultivable land there. The state Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, amended an earlier decision fixing the limit at 20 per cent of the sowing area.
It may be mentioned that under the existing Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013, Section 10 that defines special provisions to safeguard food security: “no irrigated multi-cropped land shall be acquired” unless “under exceptional circumstances” and “as last resort”. At the same time, the Act gave powers to the state government under Section 10 (2) to define the upper limit to which such multi-cropped land can be acquired in exceptional circumstances.
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Making use of the power given to it, state government had, on December 30, 2014, decided that acquisition of such land in the state should not be more than 20 per cent of the total irrigated or cultivable area in any district. While the decision was approved by the state Cabinet, the government did not issue any notification and the decision was later put under review for which a committee was formed.
On March 24, this year, the committee, headed by Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan, had recommended that the maximum limit for acquisition of such irrigated cropped land should not be beyond 5 per cent in any district. “The proposal was placed before the Cabinet today and has been approved,” Alok Ranjan, Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Government told The Indian Express.
The move is seen as an attempt by the ruling party to woo farmers before the upcoming Panchayat elections and later Assembly elections in 2017. In its 2012 election manifesto, the Samajwadi Party had promised that it would “not acquire dual crop land” for industry or infrastructure and in case it is required in a any special circumstances then their government would pay farmers six times the circle rate with the consent of the farmer.
The Cabinet, meanwhile, also gave approval to give 14.34 hectare of gram sabha land in Alipur Ahana village in Kannauj district along Lucknow-Agra Expressway to Mandi Parishad for construction of special state of art agriculture produce market (Mandi).
Among other decisions taken by the Cabinet were, providing broadband internet facility to the official residence of ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers in Lucknow with an investment of Rs 2.19 lakh on installation and Rs 12.96 lakh on annual expenditure. There are about 60 such members having their official residence in Lucknow.
The Cabinet also cleared formation of Sarojani Nagar as new Tehsil in Lucknow. The proposal to provide special concessions and exemptions, including exemption from entry tax on raw material for a period of 15 years, for those investing in under-construction Plastic City in Auraiya District was also approved.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet was also informed that Union Ministry of Finance has cleared UP government’s proposal to take Rs 2,450 crore loan from World Bank for its UP Core Road Network Development Project. The total cost of the project would be around Rs 3,500 crore, out of which state government would have to arrange for Rs 1,050 crore from its own resources.