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In a decision that is likely to speed up acquisition of land for infrastructure projects in Maharashtra, the state government has cleared a move that would see agricultural land and land in no-development zone in non-rural areas fetch five times the market value.

The decision, according to sources would help in acquisition of land for big ticket infrastructure projects such as the Rs 46,000-crore Mumbai-Nagpur super expressway and other projects in the state.

Government officials said the file suggesting a hike in compensation was put up by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation as people in non-rural areas were demanding the same amount of compensation (five times) that the state currently gives for acquiring land in rural areas.

However, in places such as Nagpur and metropolitan region Kalyan and other areas which have a development plan but are not under any municipal limit, the current compensation for land is only 3.75 times of the ready reckoner rate or rate of the last purchase, whichever is higher, which inturnĀ led to a difficulty in acquiring land for projects such as the Nagpur-Mumbai expressway as those who owned the land asked why the government was paying them less than what people in rural areas get.

The state government gives a compensation five times of the land value to those who willingly (negotiated purchase) hand over their land to the state.

However, the increased compensation will not be applicable for land within municipal council and municipal corporation limits.

Officials hope that the new move by the state government would give a fresh impetus to land acquisition for the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway project.

The state wants to acquire 10,000 hectares of land for the project but has struggled to secure consent of landowners on the route. It wanted to start construction on the route by December. However, it has now pushed the deadline to January 2018 as land acquisition is still not complete.