The Nandigram episode has persuaded the Centre to bring amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 that will prevent state governments from acquiring the farmlands for private parties.

The day rehabilitation policy will come into effect; builders constructing special economic zones (SEZs) would be negotiating directly with the farmers holding the land.

There is a clause mentioned in the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill which does not allow the state government to acquire agricultural land on behalf of industrial promoters, says Raghuvansh Prasad, rural development minister.

The draft bill has already been sent to the law ministry for its nod. A change in the Land Acquisition Act will need a constitutional amendment.

The bill will be forwarded to the cabinet next week and likely to come up in the second leg of the budget session, adds the minister. It may affect the pace of industrialization.

There are many farmers who do not favor selling their land for a number of reasons. This can block mega investment and growth of the region.

The commerce ministry has asked development commissioners of SEZs to verify manually the status of the proposals whether the land acquired by property developers vacant and undisputed or not. The DCs will personally meet original land owner to check the same.

The ministry has relaxed the rules for the property developers who would apply for huge multiproduct SEZ to be developed over an area of 1,000 hectares. Two land segments being separated by road, railway line or another tract of land which a developer is not able to acquire may be considered contagious if they are linked with an underpass or an overpass.

Also, the proposals where land was yet to be acquired by the developers would have to be abide by the proposed rehabilitation policy, adds the ministry.
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