New Delhi: The recommendations made by the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Sonia Gandhi have compounded the difficulties of the Ministry of Rural Development which is busy giving final touches to the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill to be presented in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The subgroup members of NAC are a divided lot over the nature of amendments in the Land Acquisition Act.

Amidst the ongoing controversy, Minister of Rural Development Vilasrao Deshmukh has started consulting farmers, industries and NGOs to seek their advice on the issue before preparing the draft of the bill.

The 22-page report drafted by the subgroup of the NAC has been forwarded to the Ministry of Rural Development. Aruna Roy and Dr NC Saxena are the important members of the subgroup headed by Harsh Mander.

However, there are differences within the subgroup over the ratio of government and private share in land acquisition. For the land acquisition, Dr Saxena has favoured 70 per cent ratio for private firms and 30 per cent ratio for the government, whereas Mander and Roy supported hundred percent acquisitions by private firms.

Dr Saxena argues that private firms cannot be given the sole responsibility for land acquisition. In support of his stand, he has claimed that private investors could give inappropriate amount to farmers and lure them by different methods. Not only this, he has also recommended for re-defining the government needs.

The subgroup is also divided over the relief and rehabilitation policy. While Dr Saxena is advocating giving the responsibility of the rehabilitation to the state government, the other two members hold different opinions.

The Ministry of Rural Development has already conducted a meeting in this regard with farmers and industrial organizations. Deshmukh said, “Anyone can give suggestion on Land Acquisition Bill to the Ministry till May-end.”

JPN/Bureau