BANGALORE: The new land acquisition law that came into force on January 1 has sweetened the deal for landlords who may have to give up a portion of their property or land for public sector infrastructure projects in Bangalore city.
Sample this: If a commercial property of 2,000 sqft is to be acquired on MG Road for the Metro project, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) has to fix an average compensation price of Rs 27,000 per sqft, considering that the current market value ranges between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000 per sqft.
In such a case, the land or property owner will get a compensation of Rs 54,000 per sqft, as the rules stipulate that property price should be doubled when acquired. "The land owner can also dispute the market value fixed by the executing agency at an appropriate platform exclusively set up by the government by providing documentary evidence, and hold discussions as stipulated under the new Act," explained a senior official of the revenue department.
"The new law will be helpful for farmers in some ways. The compensation package to offer four times the market value in rural areas is a significant step. It will ensure that land losers build new lives and lead a decent life. The rider that the land should not be acquired if farmers don't give their consent is also a positive step," said farmer leader Kurbur Shanthakumar.
The concept of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) to compensate land owners for the loss of land area acquired by the government for a public cause -- construction of roads or other infrastructure -- may also eventually become redundant, say officials.
With the new law in the offing, a whole range of infrastructure projects in the pipeline, including road widening, construction of underpasses and flyovers and elevated expressways may certainly face less opposition.
But there is a rider: The new land acquisition Act says the new rules will be optional in case of acquisition of less than 50 acres of land in cities and 100 acres in rural areas. "The TDR has to be attractive to ensure land owners opt for TDR (land for land compensation) rather than cash compensation. Otherwise, we may be forced to opt for the new law," said a BBMP official engaged in the land acquisition process.
BAD NEWS FOR FARM SECTOR
The new law is just another way to gobble up farm land. The attractive compensation will simply lure farmers into giving away their lands. This is certainly not good for the farm sector. We have no objection to acquisition of land for Metro, rail, roads and other essential projects but not for SEZ and other non-productive proposals. The government should know that no compensation can revive the food crisis that is in the offing.
COMPENSATING LAND LOSER
* In urban areas, compensation is twice the market value of the property, plus 100% solatium on this amount
* In rural areas, compensation is four times the market value of the property
* 'Market value' is determined based on sales and purchases made at sub-registrar offices
* Law is vague on 'market value' - whether it's the highest value at which a property in the area is traded or the average over a period of time
* If the land/property owner is not happy with market value offered by acquiring agency, a valuation perceived to be more 'fair' will be found through consultation and dialogue
WHAT'S THE NEW LAW?
* The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has replaced the 120-year-old Land Acquisition Act, 1894, from January 1
* The new Land Acquisition Bill got the President's assent on September 27, 2013
* The Bill was brought in as the archaic 1894 Act suffered from various shortcomings, including resettlement of the displaced
* Mandatory rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of those whose lands are acquired, and fair compensation for them
* Social impact study to be carried out on how acquiring parties intend to use the land, and how original inhabitants or owners will be rehabilitated