New Delhi: Facing widespread opposition to the land amendment bill, government today indicated its willingness to restrict land for industrial corridors, put in place a hassle-free mechanism for grievance redressal and ensure jobs to members of families displaced by acquisition.
"Government is willing to go in for amendment in the (land) bill in the larger interest of the community and the country," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in Lok Sabha while intervening in the debate on the bill to replace the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance.
His intervention came amid stiff opposition to the bill even as Congress and some other parties demanded that it be referred to a parliamentary standing committee for threadbare scrutiny.
Expressing the willingness of his government to consider the 52 amendments moved by members, he hoped that Rural Development Minister Birender Singh will look into the possibility of reducing the land for industrial corridors being planned to boost manufacturing sector in the country.
Naidu also suggested creating a "bank" of barren land for acquisition and said first such land should be used for setting up of industrial projects.
The government has to ensure jobs for the members of the displaced families, he said, adding "there can also be a hassle-free grievance redressal mechanism" to address problems concerning rehabilitation.
Naidu sought to defend the removal of the five-year cap for the completion of a project on acquired land, saying that it takes years to develop a project. "We do not want India to be a nation of incomplete projects," he said.
The government, he said, will use the provisions of the proposed legislation in the interest of the common man and not the business community.
Appealing to the members to pass the legislation, Naidu said the problem was that "this bill, which replaces an ordinance, has to be passed before April 5. The House will run till March 20, then how are we going to pass the bill?"
During the debate, many members opposed the bill with some even demanding that the government send it to the department-related standing committee. They also asked the government not to do away with the consent clause, impact assessment of acquisition and take over of irrigated land.
Rejecting suggestions that the government was working for big industrial houses, Naidu said Ambanis and Adanis had not grown in the last nine months but over several years.
Describing farmers and the business community as the two eyes of a human being, he said both are required for development.
He said even former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had expressed reservations over the draft land bill brought by the UPA government.
"But their concerns were not addressed...Several chief ministers had said development is not possible with the present Act. This made us think towards changing the Act," he said, adding that no Act "is cast in stone" and they can be changed based on needs.
Defending the ordinance route, he said 13 Acts relating to various ministries have been brought under the ambit of the law to ensure farmers get adequate compensation.
The Modi government will not do anything anything against the interest of the poor and the farmers, Naidu said adding that in the last 50 years, there were "words for the poor and deeds for the rich."