Rajasthan House passes bill allowing lease of land for power units

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JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Assembly today passed an amendment bill enabling land owner to lease land for to power (solar and wind energy) producers for thirty years. 

The Rajasthan Land Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014, to amend the Rajasthan Tenancy Act 1955, and the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act 1956, was passed by a voice vote after rejecting ruling BJP MLAs and Independent member’s important suggestions. 

Defending the provisions of the Bill, Parliamentary Minsiter Rajendra Rathor said Rajasthan would emerge as a global hub for solar and wind power in the country. The new amendments would permit the land owner or a “khatedar” tenant to sub-let whole or any part of his holding to power producers, he added.

Now a land owner can sub-let whole or any part of his holding for a term of up to 30 years, which may be extended by ten years, Rathor said.BJP MLA Jogaram Patel alleged that the new bill terminated the existing Rajasthan Tenancy Act, and could be misused by traders in the name of solar or wind power. Tenancy Rights and Agriculturists’ rights should be protected by bringing more amendments and incorporated in the new one, Patel said.

Source: Economic Times 

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Under the new bill, the people of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe would not be able to enjoy the provisions of the land lease as they could not sell or lease out their land to anyone, he said.Indpendent MLA M S Surana pointed out that the lease agreement can be used for purposes other than power generation through wind or solar technologies and said the bill should clarify it specifically, he demanded.BJP MLA N S Rajvi said the mechanism of implementation of existing tenancy and land revenue matters were still not changed, and land mafia might emerge in the backdrop of solar or wind energy purpose.

Rejecting the suggestions, the Minister said all terms and conditions would be laid down in the lease to be signed by concerned parties and there would be no legal issue. 

Earlier, the ruling BJP government referred the Rajasthan Land Acquistion Bill 2014, which was tabled yesterday amid resentment among the BJP MLAs, to a select committee by Parliamentary Minister Rathor.The Assembly also passed the Code of Criminal Procedure (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill-2014 by voice vote.

The amendment proposed is in sub section (2) of section 29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and enhances the power of Judicial Magistrate of the first class of imposing fine from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000.After Rural Development Minister Gulabchand Kataria proposed that the bill be taken up for discussion, Independent legislator Manik Chand Surana said that it should have been brought in 2007 when the Rajasthan Excise Act was amended.Congress MLA Shakuntala Rawat and others also expressed their views on the bill.After the bill was passed, Chairperson Rao Rajendra Singh adjourned the House sine die.

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