Mayawati announces new land acquisition policy; government will be only facilitator

Uttar Pradesh chief minister says henceforward developers would have to negotiate with landowners directly and the acquisition would go through only if 70% of the owners agree to it

Lucknow: Under pressure over the farmers' agitation over land acquisition, the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) today announced a new 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 criticism and serious protests over acquisition of land for private companies, the government has decided that from now on developers would acquire land directly from farmers, PTI reports.

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

Giving details of the new policy, Ms Mayawati said that in the affected villages where land has been acquired, the developer would have to construct a Kisan Bhavan 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.

Ms Mayawati said the new policy had been thought of to safeguard the interest of farmers, and she added that their suggestions during the day-long panchayat would be incorporated in the government order.

Terming the new policy as a historic one, the chief minister 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 to protest outside Parliament if the Centre failed to bring a new bill in the monsoon session.

Blaming opposition parties for instigating the recent agitation, 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 that an assurance has been given to representatives from Bhatta-Parsaul that the government would compensate the damages.

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