THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government on Wednesday approved the rules for the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, which is regarded as a major shot in the arm to several development projects that were stalled in the name of land acquisition.
As per the rules, the consent of the owners isneeded before land is acquired for any purpose. Moreover, the rules specify that the owners will get a higher compensation than what is laid down under the Centre government’s law. The aim behind providing reasonable compensation is to dissuade the land owners from approaching the courts to claim compensation.
The provision of social impact assessment is another important aspect in the rules. According to the rules, the compensation will be paid before land is acquired. It also calls for implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement programmes, including infrastructure amenities within 18 months of the date of publication of the notification.
And the rules state that employment or stake hold in the rehabilitation package should be included as per the need. With respect to rehabilitation, it has been said that Rehabilitation Committees should be constituted under District Collectors which would be responsible for acquiring land. A state-level Empowered Committee will also be formed, which will be headed by the Chief Secretary. This Committee will examine the district-level recommendations.
The Cabinet that met on Wednesday also decided to publish the Rules by taking into consideration the construction work of Kochi Metro, airport, National Highways and other large-scale projects.
After the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act took effect in 2014, the state government’s Fair Value law of 1894 became invalid. But as per Section 109 of the 2013 Act, the state government concerned could frame the rules. And as per Section 108 of the 2013 Act, the state government can formulate policy to give higher compensation and rehabilitation than what is proposed by the Central law which gives the land owners the opportunity to receive higher compensation or to move as per the Central law.Accordingly, the draft of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Kerala) Rules 2014 was drafted and examined by the Law Department.