"It’s a historic step. For the first time it brings transparency in the process of land acquisition, compensation and rehabilitation as a matter of right," Congress member Meenakshi Natrajan said while participating in a debate on the land takeover bill.

"This is not for cheap publicity but in public interest," she said. Natrajan said that the bill also has provision for social impact analysis of any land acquisition before the process begins and noted that the village councils or Panchayat will have a key role in the whole process.

She also urged Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to address the issue of reforms in land records. The bill, she said, has provisions to safeguard rights of those who are dependent on land for livelihood.

The bill will replace a nearly 120-year-old law enacted during British rule in 1894.

(Agencies)

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