CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Housing Board, which is facing land crunch, is seeking amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Compensation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement) Act 2017, though rules have been already been notified by TN.
It is learnt that the Housing Board has sought five amendments to the provisions of the act as it feels it will put it to hardship in acquiring lands to cater to the needs of public and government servants. It is citing the examples of Telangana and Gujarat where amendments have been made and has urged the State government to consider its case.
The Housing Board is particularly wary about Section 24 (2) of the new act. Under this section if the land acquisition under old act has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of the new act passed in 2013 but physical possession has not been taken nor the compensation paid, then it paves way for filing of cases before the Madras High Court.
This, it feels, could spell trouble for the Housing Board as it will have as many as 794 cases challenging land acquisition in the Madras High Court, sources said. It would mean fresh compensation under the New Land Acquisition Act, which would make the project unfeasible. It is learnt that the board wants additional provision under Section 24 of the Act, which says where the possession of land has been taken by the Housing Board, the compensation lying deposited in court or any other account maintained for the purpose shall be excluded.
Similarly, Under Section 23 A, which pertains to enquiry and land acquisition by District Collector, the Board wants an amendment giving powers to the Collector to clear the land acquisition without probing into the objections, if any.
As per the Act, the Collector has to enquire into the objections (if any) which any person interested has stated pursuant to a notice given under land acquisition and to the measurements as well as valuation of the land.
Similarly, in Section 33 A, which pertains to corrections to awards made under land acquisition, the Housing Board wants an amendment wherein if money is paid wrongfully to any person, then the State government or Collector shall recover it as arrears of land revenue.
As per the provisions of the Act, If excess amount is proved to have been paid to any person as a result of the correction made, it shall be liable to be refunded and in the case of any default or refusal to pay, it may be recovered, as prescribed by the appropriate government.
Similarly, it wants insertions in Section 31 A wherein the land is acquired for projects, that lumpsum amount equal to 50 pc of the amount of compensation based on market value is paid. Likewise, it has suggested changes in Section 87, which prescribed offences by government department. As per the Act, if an offence has been committed by any department of the government, the head of the department, shall be deemed to be guilty and be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
However, the State Housing Board has suggested that if any offence has been committed, the court shall take cognisance of it under the procedure laid down in Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.