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Mayawati announces new land acquisition policy


Under pressure over farmers' agitation, the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday announced a new land acquisition policy under which its role in acquiring land for private developers would only be that of a facilitator.


The chief minister, who held a farmers' Panchayat earlier in the day to discuss their problems, announced that the new policy will be implemented with immediate effect.


Facing flak over acquiring land for private companies, the government has decided that from now on, the developers would be acquiring land directly from the farmers.


The chief minister also said that such acquisitions could only happen with the agreement of 70 per cent of the farmers in a given area. In case of disagreement, the project would be reviewed, she said.


Giving details of the new policy, she said that in the affected villages where land has been acquired, the developer would have to construct a kisan bhawan as well as a model school.


The chief minister clarified that areas where land has already been acquired and compensation distributed to farmers including Bhatta-Parsaul and Tappal will be out of the ambit of the policy.


Mayawati said the new policy has been framed to safeguard the interest of farmers, adding that their suggestions during the day-long panchayat in Lucknow, would be incorporated in the government order.


Terming the new policy a historic one, she said efforts would be made to get it implemented at the national level as the Union government also plans to bring a land acquisition bill during the monsoon session.


She stuck to her threat of protesting outside Parliament if the Centre failed to bring a new bill in the monsoon session.


This policy is even better than the ones being implemented in Congress-ruled states like Haryana, she claimed.


Blaming the Opposition for instigating the recent agitations, she said that instead of putting pressure on the Centre to amend the existing policy, they enacted a "drama" in UP and created a law and order problem at some places in the state.


The chief minister said an assurance has been given to representatives from Bhatta-Parsaul that the government would compensate the damages.


According to the new policy, Mayawati said that for purposes including National Highways, canals or other basic amenities, land acquisition would be through mutual agreement and farmers would get the benefits of state's rehabilitation and relocation policy.


For setting up power and other projects, private companies would be negotiating directly with the farmers with the government just playing the role of a facilitator.


She said two options would be given to farmers, adding that they can either take 16 percent of the developed land along with annuity of Rs 23,000 per acre for 33 years or take cash for some portion of the 16 percent land.


Farmers would also have the option of taking a one-time payment in case they do not want annuity which otherwise would be paid in July with a hike of Rs 800 annually.


Exemption on stamp duty will be given to farmers, she said adding that one member of the farmers' family being displaced, would get a job as per his qualification in the company.


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