The Maharashtra government is set to seek the centre’s nod to exempt the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) from central land acquisition legislation provisions that mandate social impact assessment for all projects, besides consent of 80 per cent of land owners in case the government is acquiring land for private companies.
The state government will ask Union Industries Ministry for MIDC Act 1961 to be added to the list of projects exempted from provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
Land acquisition for atomic energy projects, national highways, railways, mines and power infrastructure do not need to follow these provisions.
“The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was in existence when MIDC Act 1961 came into force. At one point, when it was challenged in court, the ruling said the MIDC Act need not be replaced by the land acquisition act as the objectives are different, with the ‘orderly industrial development of the state’ being our objective under statute,” said MIDC CEO Bhushan Gagrani. He added that his department has submitted the proposal for including MIDC in the list of exemptions to the state government and it will soon be forward to the centre.
Diluting the central legislation brought into force by the previous UPA government has been on the cards of the BJP-led union government. In addition to watering down the social impact assessment for projects except large ones and doing away with the consent clause, the union government aims to reduce compensation amount stipulated in the new Act. Gagrani said MIDC is willing to pay the relatively high compensation LARR sets, but social impact assessment and consent clause would lead to procedural delays and come in the way of the Devendra Fadnavis government’s move to fast-track the ‘Make in Maharashtra’ campaign.
Farmers’ groups, especially those from 78 villages of Raigad opposing MIDC acquisition for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, had been served notices under the MIDC Act instead of the central Act leading to a confrontation. “The central Act says its provisions apply to industrial corridors. Exempting MIDC Act from it will lead to forcible acquisitions. Of the 2.07 lakh acres it acquired till date, MIDC has failed to allot about a lakh acres,” said Ulka Mahajan of the Anti-corridor Struggle Committee. Union Industries Minister Anant Geete had takenthe side of farmers. Raigad is his home constituency.