Land rules recast for govt projects

Patna, Nov. 2: The government has tweaked the rules to allow uniform payment of compensation for land acquisition in an effort to ease some of the difficulties faced by the state and its agencies in setting up industrial units.

A provision has been made in the Bihar Land Acquisition Compensation and Rehabilitation Rule 2007 to effect the change. Under the amended rules, the process of acquisition of land would henceforth have to be completed within a year to prevent cost escalation.

The proposals, which received the nod from the cabinet today, had been submitted by the revenue and land reforms department.

The changes would, however, not apply to private investors seeking land for their ventures. Entrepreneurs have singled out land acquisition as the biggest hurdle in setting up industry in the state.

Vijoy Prakash, principal secretary in-charge of cabinet coordination, said the government had approved the "one project, one rate" policy for acquisition of land by the state or any authority controlled by it for public purpose. If a proposal is sent by a government department or authority for acquiring more than one mauja (group of villages), then the process must be completed within a year.

This has been done to avoid price escalation of land over the years, which creates discontent and dissatisfaction among the landowners. At present, even if a department or government authority sends a proposal to the district administration for buying land (falling under various maujas), the acquisition notification is issued in different years. This is because the land acquisition process of different plots of land is completed at different points in time.

The delay leads to variation in compensation as land rates are revised periodically. This results in varied compensation amounts, which, in turn, creates discontent among landowners.

Today's decision would help the government hasten the various pending projects in sectors such as power, road, education and health.

For example, the 1,980MW (3x660MW) Nabinagar thermal power project, a joint venture between BSEB and NTPC, which was supposed to be completed by 2015-16, has been facing hurdles from landowners. Chief minister Nitish Kumar had on January 28, 2012, laid the foundation stone for setting up the project but the earth work had to be discontinued umpteen times over the past 10 months. The government has also been facing problems in Kahalgaon Growth Centre in Bhagalpur where landowners ' from whom Biada acquired land ' and some local leaders, including a few with criminal antecedents, are posing problems. These landowners are demanding more money for their land.

School for special children

The cabinet also cleared the opening of a school for special children in the house of former director-general of police Narayan Mishra.

The cabinet approved the revenue and land reforms department's proposal to hand over Mishra's Rukanpura residence built on 5,937 square feet for running the school.

The cabinet also extended the service of 85 contractual city managers of urban local bodies for another year.