Print Edition - 2015-02-28  |  MONEY

Cabinet nod to land acquisition policy

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Feb 27, 2015-The Cabinet has endorsed the “Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy for the Development Projects”.

As per the new policy, even if 75 percent of the owners of the land to be acquired approve the compensation, it would be considered as approved by the all the affected people, according to Gopi Nath Mainali, joint secretary at the National Planning Commission.

As per the new policy, the price of the land to be approved will be based on the price maintained whenever the government issues a land acquisition notice for a particular infrastructure project.

“As there is a tendency of hiking land prices as long as the acquisition process moves on, the policy has clearly stated the price will be maintained whenever a notice is issued for land acquisition,” said Mainali. Even if a project is private-sector promoted, the government will be responsible for issuing such a notice, according to Mainali.

A large number of infrastructure projects—be it hydropower, transmission lines and roads—have stalled due to land acquisition-related problems.

The policy has talked about obtaining land through four ways—voluntary donation, negotiation, land pulling (development) and land acquisition.

To determine the price of the land to  be acquired, the policy has envisioned the formation of land compensation determination committee headed by the chief district officer and represented by the affected people, survey office, land revenue office, project chief and an expert. With current Act on land

acquisition not talking about the private sector acquiring individuals’ land, the new policy has covered land acquisition by both the government and the private sector. “The government currently facilitates the private sector by taking decisions on case-to-case basis,” said Mainali. “The policy will also work as a uniform document for donor-funded projects.”

The policy has also talked about resettlement of the affected people. “The policy talks about resettling them in a way that they would not feel their living standards have fallen,” said Mainali. The policy talks about prioritising the affected people during hiring at projects concerned. It also envisions providing land for land as compensation. “The affected people can be compensated through land development particularly in urban areas with all basic facilities,” said Mainali.

The policy has given all the responsibility of resettling the people to the project itself. “Although a mechanism involving several agencies was proposed initially, it was later abandoned to make the resettlement process smooth and hassle-free,” said Mainali.

Published: 28-02-2015 10:19

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