New Delhi: Racing against time, Government will be introducing the much-awaited Land Acquisition Bill in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, a day ahead of the conclusion of the Monsoon Session.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal gave an indication to this effect.

The Union Cabinet has already cleared the measure billed as one of the landmark legislations in the UPA-II dispensation and is being brought about months after party leader Rahul Gandhi raked up the land acquisition issue in a major way by coming out in support of farmers' agitation at Bhatta Parasul in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

Jairam Ramesh has been working feverishly on the bill after he took charge of the Rural Development Ministry two months back and promised to bring the measure in this session.

The bill has become a major political issue in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh with BSP members raising the issue of its early enactment during the current session.

The Rural Development Ministry is learnt to have made some key changes in its final draft that include provision for creation of a land bank in states to keep the acquired land with itself if it is not used in five years by the concerned party.

Provision in the first draft was to return the land to original owner if it was not used in five years for the purpose for which it is acquired.

Ramesh has described it as a "historic bill" as it replaces a 117-year-old Act.

It is also learnt that the final bill allows acquiring multi-crop irrigated land for both public and private purposes. The talk is that the provision has been made especially keeping in mind the situation in Haryana and Punjab where there is hardly any non-fertile and single cropped land.

The first draft had said the Government did not envisage acquiring "any multi-crop irrigated land" for public purposes.

(Agencies)