What exactly Govt changes in land ordinance?

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What exactly Assam Government has changed following spontaneous protest against the MSME land ordinance?  Here is the details.

The Cabinet approved the Assam MSME (Facilitation of Establishment and Operation) Ordinance, 2020 on June 29, 2020, and this sparked huge protest as Govt was accused of allowing non-indigenous people to occupy the land.

  • The provisions related to use of land in the draft Ordinance created some apprehensions over land issues in the mind of a section of people. In order to clarify such confusion and apprehension, a Press Conference was held on July 3. The matter was clarified in detail. However, a section of people still continued to express their concern about the protection of right of indigenous people over the land.
  • In this backdrop to address the issues and concerns, Chief Minister Sarbananda  Sonowal convened a meeting on July 7 to discuss the provisions of the draft Ordinance related to use of land. The meeting was attended by Chandra Mohan Patowary, Industries and Commerce Minister; Shantanu Bharali, Legal Adviser to CM; Ramesh Chandra Borpatra Gohain, Advocate General of Assam and Jishnu Baruah, Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue and DM; Sanjay Lohiya, Principal Secretary to CM; Dr KK Dwivedi, Commissioner and Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department and DevajitSaikia, Additional Advocate General of Assam.
  • After detailed discussion, it was unanimously decided that stringent measures and provisions should be madeso that the right of the indigenous people over their land are protected and kept unaffected. Accordingly, a provision has been proposed to be made in the draft MSME Ordinance that all the provisions of the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Reclassification and Transfer for Non-Agricultural Purpose) Act, 2015 and other land laws will have to be followed and adhered for setting up of any enterprise and no exemption will be given under the aforesaid Act or any land related Act for any business initiative or business enterprise.
  • Earlier there was a provision that after getting the Acknowledgment Certificate,agricultural land was proposed to be deemed converted for non-agriculture purpose to set up an industry. But now it is proposed that so far land is concerned, no such exemption will be given. The business enterprises will have to take all the permission, clearance and approval related to land before starting any industry.
  • In addition to that, all land related laws and provisions under the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Reclassification and Transfer for Non-Agricultural Purpose) Act, 2015 have to be followed and observed by any enterprise.
  • Moreover, it is reiterated that in addition to the above Land Act, 2015 provision is alreadyproposed in the draft Ordinance to the effect that no enterprise will be permitted to use the land falling in restricted category – viz. Public Grazing Reserve (PGR), Village Grazing Reserve (VGR), Wetland, Heritage Historical, Archaeological sites and land settled, allotted or reserved for religious institutions like Satras, Temples, Wakfs, land under Tribal Belts and Blocks and in deviation of land use specified in the Master Plan wherever such plan is in existence.
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