In May 2015, the government framed a policy whereby those consenting to offer land for the expressway were offered 25% more compensation than what is stipulated under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
Officials said that a proposal has now been moved under the Maharashtra Highways Act to raise compensation for land acquisition for state highways, major district roads and village roads.
“It is proposed that if acquisition is by mutual consent, 25% more compensation than mandated by the 2013 law will be paid and in case of compulsory acquisition, compensation will be as defined in the Act,” said an official.
The Maharashtra government has proposed to develop around 10,000 km of state highways under a rejuvenation project. Maharashtra’s public works department is planning to undertake these projects under the Centre’s hybrid annuity model (HAM), which aims to maintain a balance between a public-private partnership contract. The balance is maintained in such a way that the government initially invests in 40% of the required funds while the private firm raises the balance 60%. The government repays the investment over 15 years in instalments.
In April, the President approved the Bill passed by the Maharashtra state legislature granting exemption to the Maharashtra Highways Act, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Act, the Maharashtra Housing Area and Development Authority Act and the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act from certain provisions of the 2013 Act. But the minimum compensation, relief and rehabilitation provided in the 2013 Act is required to be implemented.
Senior officials said the provisions from which these laws have been excluded include the non-requirement of consent for land acquisition for private companies and projects done through public-private participation, the non-requirement of social impact assessment and the removal of restrictions on the acquisition of multi-crop and other agricultural land.