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Uttar Pradesh government may not seek farmers’ consent to buy Jewar land

Till recently, the Uttar Pradesh government seemed to have been considering the Jewar project a public private partnership under Section 2 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act and was aiming to obtain the mandatory consent of 70% land owners.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Aug 11, 2018, 06.59 AM IST
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Jewar

The state government, however, was only willing to pay farmers twice the circle rate for the ‘urban area,’ while they demanded 4x the rate.

NEW DELHI: In what could be a controversial move, the Uttar Pradesh government is now planning to acquire 1328 hectares of land for the Jewar International Airport without taking consent of the farmers who have been protesting for them to be paid four times the circle rate and had met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath last week with this demand.

As per minutes of a top-level meeting held on August 6 which have been notified by the UP government and have been accessed by ET, the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority has proposed that the Jewar airport project be considered an “infrastructure project for transportation” and hence falling under Section 2(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, for which no consent is needed to acquire required land. UP Government has decided to take legal opinion on this before moving ahead on the same.

Till recently however, UP government seemed to have been considering the Jewar Airport as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project under Section 2 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act and was aiming for obtaining the mandatory consent of 70% land-owners. That there has been a change in strategy now is clear from minutes of a top-level review meeting held on July 6, also accessed by ET, where it was directed that consent of 70% land owners be obtained. UP government was however ready to pay only twice the circle rate to farmers saying the land falls under an “urban area” but farmers were protesting asking for four times the circle rate as for rural areas under the Act.

1328 hectares of private land needs to be acquired from nearly 3000 farmers at an estimated budget of Rs 4000 Cr for Jewar International Airport in Greater NOIDA.

“Consent is not required when the appropriate government acquires land for its own use, hold and control, including for PSUs and for public purpose – as per Section 2 (1) of the Act. One of the purposes listed in the Act in Section 2 (1) (b) (6) is projects for transportation. The Jewar Airport land will remain with government, it is for transportation (air services) and will be developed from a developer for public purpose,” the Yamuna Expressway Authority argued in its presentation at the August 6 meeting.

It is expected that a private developer may build the airport but the Yamuna Expressway Authority has argued before senior UP officials that the land will not be transferred to any private agency and land will remain in “hold and control” of government. UP’s Director, Land Acquisition, agreed with the proposal at the said meeting, as per the minutes. This proposal has now been sent for a legal opinion.

Both the Centre and the UP government are insistent on starting the construction of the airport by the end of this year, before the 2019 general elections. The Chief Minister, in his meeting with farmers last week, had impressed upon them to give up their protest and said many other cities were interested in the airport which could end up being shifted elsewhere. The new strategy of involving Section 2 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act instead of Section 2(2) seems to stem from the farmer protests.

Senior Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority officials were not available for a comment.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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