THE STATE Assembly on Thursday introduced amendments to the Maharashtra Highways Act, paving the way to fast-track the process of land acquisition for mega infrastructure projects and providing higher compensation to land losers. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation Act-2018 was passed amid chaos and without any discussion. The Legislative Council is likely to take up the Bill for approval next week.
The Bill allows the state government to streamline the process of land acquisition for public welfare projects. Among various provisions incorporated in the Bill, the government will provide at least five times more compensation for land acquired from the farmers.
It also mandates quality relief and rehabilitation of the project-affected people. The passage of the Bill will help boost ongoing work in Rs 46,000-crore Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor, linking the state to the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. It is also likely to expedite other infrastructure projects, worth Rs 5.96 lakh crore, which is currently being executed across the state. The Assembly, meanwhile, also amended the Maharashtra Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act-1963 to regulate the marketing of agriculture and certain other produce.
“The APMCs (agricultural produce market committees) have been established as a platform for farmers to sell their produce. With the proposed amendments, farmers who face difficulties in marketing their produce, would benefit,” said an official.
The Centre and the state government are implementing e-NAM scheme in 60 APMCs of Maharashtra to help farmers get a competitive price for their produce. The Bill seeks to provide licences to traders to operate in the electronic trading platform so that payments to farmers can be ensured in real time.