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Governor clears bill for key changes in land laws, another sent to President

Tenancy bill, signed by Kohli, promises equity shares to those who sell their land to companies; Agricultural Land Ceiling (Amendment) Bill proposes use of surplus farm land for industrial purpose.

Written by Parimal A Dabhi | Gandhinagar |
October 20, 2015 3:25:34 am

Governor O P Kohli has given his approval to the controversial Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which increases the time limit for an industrial house to commence production or service after acquiring a farm land from five years to 10 years, according to sources.

The Revenue Department, it is expected, will soon come out with a notification in this regard. Meanwhile, the other controversial land-related bill — the Gujarat Agricultural Land Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2015 — has been sent to the President for his consent, the sources said. The bill proposes use of surplus farm land for industrial purpose.

The Assembly had passed the two key bills in late August to help facilitate rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in Gujarat.

The proposed amendments to the Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Land Laws have a number of industrial friendly, but controversial provisions. The tenancy bill promises equity shares to those who sell their land to companies for industrial development, but it also allows firms to transfer or sell the land further, if they fail to commence production within five years.

The other controversial amendment to the tenancy act is related to validating illegal land transactions by paying 10 per cent of the prevailing jantri rate (index of base value of land) of a disputed piece of land.

According to the proposed amendment, if a piece of land has been bought by a non-agriculturist in violation of the law and then following single or multiple transactions it was finally resulted in the ownership of an agriculturist, the last owner can be announced the legal owner of the land by mamlatdar after payment of 10 per cent of the jantri rate.

The sources said being a matter of the State List, the Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Land Laws (Amendment) Bill was approved by the Governor. The Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act, however, comes under the Central List and will need the President’s approval.

The amendments to the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act seeks to amend the very preamble of the Act. The legislation was meant for bringing equality among people by giving surplus land to landless poor, but the proposed amendments open the provision for industry also.

The provision to amend the preamble of the Act reads, “…in the preamble, after the words ‘for ensuring the full and efficient use thereof’, the words ‘or for the allotment for industrial purpose or for the development thereof or for any public purpose’ shall be inserted.”

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