Difficulty in Land acquisition affects target achievement of railway officials

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Railway officials these days are a worried as they are racing against time to complete their projects. Recently, prime minister Narendra Modi increased their yearly target of laying down new railway lines by over 60 per cent.

Sources told that in a recent meeting, which was chaired by PM Modi, the annual target for railway was increased from constructing 300 km new rail line a year to 500 km. Now all thanks to the new land acquisition law that came in to effect earlier this year, the “revised target” given to them by PM is giving jitters to railway officials.

“Railways was anyways having a tough time in acquiring land for its projects and this new land acquisition law has made it nearly impossible. It has become difficult to acquire even an inch of land, so we don’t know how we will achieve this,” a senior railway ministry official told.

Modi has already given enough signs that development of railways – whether it is high speed or bullet trains – is his dream project the way development of highways or golden quadrilateral was for the former PM AB Vajpayee.

As per the new Land acquisition law, which came into effect from 1 Jan, 2014, the state governments are required to take immediate steps to create the State Social Impact Assessment Unit, the office of the Commissioner Rehabilitation and Resettlement and the State Level Monitoring Committee. They are expected to set up at least six bodies, including the state-level Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority, to hear disputes arising out land acquisition.

The new Land Act calls for mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent of affected people for acquiring land for PPP (Public Private Partnership) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private companies.