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Odisha Govt Introduces Bill To Amend Central Law, Land Acquisition

It added, the center proposed to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

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The Odisha government announced a relaxation on the acquisition process for various industrial and infrastructure projects, according to a media report on Friday.

It was further reported that the Central government proposed to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The State Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Pramila Mallik introduced the Amendment Bill on Wednesday, and it is likely to be discussed in the Assembly session.

The amendment to the Central legislation aims to abolish the mandatory provision of social impact assessment (SIA), a time-consuming study before land acquisition. According to the proposed Bill, the SIA study will not be mandatory for significant projects under national security or defense of India, infrastructure projects including educational institutions, government offices, health infrastructure, electrification, drinking water projects, and irrigation projects.

The other significant projects exempted from SIA include affordable housing, state government industrial corridors, infrastructure projects like highways and railways, and industrial projects involving displacement of 100 families or less, or acquisition of private land of nearly 500 acres or less.

Following the footsteps of Gujarat (2016), Maharashtra (2018), and Karnataka (2019), which have amended the legislation and received the assent of the President of India, Odisha will be the fourth state to do so.

According to reports, commenting on the matter, Sahu said, “The government aims to attract private investments in mega projects across sectors through the 'Make in Odisha' initiative to fast-track the development process. Therefore, providing hassle-free land to the project proponents, a basic requirement for industrial and infrastructure development, is crucial."

A revenue official added, “The SIA study is time-consuming and delays the land acquisition process. Hence, we have decided to eliminate it for certain projects."

The Odisha government has also decided to introduce a new provision that requires consent for land acquisition for the mentioned projects to be exempted from non-scheduled areas and mandatory for scheduled areas only.

Meanwhile, the amendment is likely to support the state government in recovering wrongfully paid amounts from any person under the Act by inserting a new provision.