“We do not need any change in land laws to acquire land for public projects”, said minister with independent charge for power, coal, mines and renewable energy Piyush Goyal at a book release event in New Delhi on Monday.
According to Goyal, he has been flooded with requests from land holders from different parts of the country, who want the government to buy their land. “The requests are from all areas; they are willing to sell under the current laws”.
The minister’s comments are significant since large segments of industry have claimed it has become impossible for them to buy land for putting up projects under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which governs land sales in rural areas of the country. The Act, passed by the previous United Progressive Alliance government, has been pilloried for its insistence on carrying out social impact assessment prior to any large-scale acquisition of land by a government or private body in for non-agricultural purposes. The current dispensation tried a limited amendment to the Act to exempt certain projects like roads, infrastructure and those for setting up industrial zones from the stiff requirements, but it could not get the majority to pass Parliament.