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Expert Speak

Whose Bill Is It Anyway?

By Ramesh Menon Founding Partner, Certes Realty

With the tabling of the stand- ing committee report on the LARR Bill 2011, the debate has widened whether development of urban areas are considered “A public purpose, or are the private developers engaged in a profit making commercial venture”.

Should the government, gov- ernment agencies & Urban authorities invoke the Urgency clauses to acquire the fertile land from the farmers, at abys- mally low prices, and subse- quently either allot or Auction the land on Open market valu- ations basis, thereby, pocket- ing the profits OR, in other words, depriving the farmers of their legitimate commercial value of the asset.

In the first place, there is a dis- tinct difference between “Ac- quisition” and “Purchase” by the state. Excepting in North- ern part of Australia (to protect the interest of the Aborigines), Perhaps no nation other than India “Acquires” land. They are purchased, by paying a fair valuation to the landowner, keeping in mind the social, & economic rehabilitation.

12 GIREM 101

Why should it be any differ- ent in India?

The doctrine for Land “Acqui- sition” was limited to Railways, Roads, irrigation canals & such public purposes, but, was sub- sequently amended to include “Or Company”, which further was amended in 1933 to in- clude “the erection of dwelling

note, NOT purchasing) with a vigour not commensurate with the zeal on other socially important obligations. In many cases, acquiring much more than the immediate necessity, and, at prices, which were unfair to the landowners.

Ramesh Menon Founding Partner, Certes Realty Ltd

houses for workmen employed by the Company or for the provision of amenities directly connected therewith”. The amendments made in 1984 extinguished the differ- entiation of acquisition of land for ‘public purpose’ and for Company or private enterprise. Coupled with the burgeoning urbanization needs, the states started acquiring land (please

If we trace the history of real estate developments & devel- opers in India, the growth of large Real estate development firms also coincides with the amendments in the land ac- quisition policy. IN THE 1960s, the state took upon itself the responsibility to create residential dwelling units since the private enterprise wasn’t strong enough. During the 80s, the private enterprise started displaying their presence in the Real estate sector, and with the economic advancements in the 90s & this century, most of the supply in Real estate came from the private sector. This period also saw the in- cremental role of the state to acquire land, for furtherance of the economic interest of the private developers (Intended, or Unintended remains a per- ennial debate).

The gullibility of the developer

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