New Delhi:  Aiming at ensuring better resettlement and rehabilitation, the draft Land Acquisition Bill proposes to set up a national monitoring body which will be regularly updated by the states.

'The Draft National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill, 2011' also proposes to set up authorities both at central and state level for speedy disposal of issues related to land acquisition.

"The Central government shall constitute a National Monitoring Committee for reviewing and monitoring the implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement schemes or plans under the Act," says the draft bill, which seeks to enhance compensation for land owners by up to six times.

 It proposes that the committee should have "eminent experts from the relevant fields" along with representatives of the ministries concerned and departments of the central and state governments.

The states and Union Territories shall provide all the relevant information on the matters covered under the Act, to the committee "in a regular and timely manner, and also as and when required," says the draft bill unveiled last week.

The draft bill also proposes to set up authorities both at national and state level for "the purpose of providing speedy disposal of disputes relating to land acquisition, compensation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement".

Both the National Land Acquisition Dispute Settlement Authority and State Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Dispute Settlement Authority shall comprise at least three members, including the chairperson, the draft bill says.

"The members of the Authority shall be persons of ability, integrity and standing who have adequate knowledge of, and have shown capacity in, dealing with the problems relating to land acquisition matters, public administration, finance, economics and law," says the draft. (The draft bill, which was unveiled amid a raging controversy over land acquisition across the country, also proposes penalty for obstructing acquisition of land.

Whoever wilfully obstructs any authorised person to acquire land or wilfully fills up, destroys, damages or displaces any trench or mark made shall "on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding one month, or to fine not exceeding Rs 500, or to both," it says.

 While assuring adequate compensation to land owners and ensuring rehabilitation of those displaced, the new draft bill also seeks to punish a person if he tries to cheat the government by filing "false or misleading documents" for availing rehabilitation and resettlement benefit.

Furnishing false information and mala fide action will result in the levy of a fine of up to Rs one lakh and/or with imprisonment up to a month, says the draft.

"If a person, in connection with a requirement or direction under this Act, provides any information or produces any document that the person knows is false or misleading, he shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both," it says.

The proposed legislation, which also seeks to replace the existing Land Acquisition Act, 1984, says any rehabilitation and resettlement benefit availed of by making a false claim or through fraudulent means shall be liable to be recovered by the appropriate authority.

In a bid to check the corrupt practices of the bureaucrats engaging in land acquisition, the draft bill
proposes "disciplinary proceedings" by the disciplinary authority against a government servant, who if proved to be guilty of a mala fide action in respect of any provision of the Act.

Such an official shall be liable to punishment including a fine as the disciplinary authority may decide, it says.

(Agencies)