Monday, September 20, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati magic (Opinion)

Mayawati magic
The Financial Express
Posted online: 2010-09-20 22:38:23+05:30

While the UPA continues to grapple with the issue of the land
acquisition Act, and getting the stormy Mamata Banerjee on board, the
issue has moved far beyond what it was considering. Haryana chief
minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda set the ball rolling when he came up
with the model—the model has been in force for a few years but got
centrestage after Sonia Gandhi recommended it—which not only gave
farmers upfront compensation for their land, it guaranteed an annuity
as well. After the farmers' agitation over land acquisition for the
Yamuna Expressway project, the chief minister of the country's largest
state, Mayawati, came up with an even more generous offer.

The Haryana scheme fixes the minimum land acquisition prices across
the state, including in specific urban and rural areas. It also has
provisions for an additional compensation through an annuity payment
of Rs 15,000 per acre of land with clauses that allow an annual
increment of Rs 500 on each acre for 33 years. And the annuity is even
higher at Rs 30,000 per acre, with annual increments of Rs 1,000 per
acre each year, in the case of acquisition for special economic zones
and technology cities/parks that are being set up by private
developers. Additionally, there are other incentives like allotments
of residential and commercial plots for rehabilitation.

In addition to the one-time compensation, Uttar Pradesh's policy
provides for a larger annuity of Rs 20,000 per acre with increments of
Rs 600 each year over 33 years. Landowners who forgo annuity payments
can claim Rs 2,40,000 as additional compensation per acre. The
original landowners are also to get 7% of the acquired land, for
residential plots of a minimum size of 120 sq metres. The most
important provision is that the UP scheme allows the ousted landowners
to use a quarter of the one-time compensation for purchasing the
shares of the company floating the projects. This is particularly
important since this ensures oustees get a large part of the benefit
from future development on their land—typically, land prices escalate
when the land-use is changed from the agricultural to the commercial
or industrial. By owning a share in the project, farmers will continue
to benefit. A win-win for all concerned.


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