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Gadkari dares Sonia, Anna to debate on Land Bill

Gadkari dares Sonia, Anna to debate on Land Bill
The minister held firm to the view that the Bill was “very much in farmers’ interest.”

In a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, leaders of other opposition parties and social activist Anna Hazare, Union transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said the government was willing to debate all aspects of the Bill which is awaiting clearance in the Rajya Sabha. A united and aggressive opposition, led by the Congress, is blocking the Bill’s passage in RS and submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this week, terming the land Bill as “anti-farmer.”

Gadkari, while claiming that the opposition parties were criticising the Bill for “political reasons”,
invited all leaders of major parties as well as Hazare for an open debate on any platform to discuss the nuances of the Bill. “The Narendra Modi-led BJP government has brought significant amendments to the land acquisition Bill keeping the interest of farmers and rural development in mind. But some parties and organisations are opposing this Bill for political reasons,” he said in the letter.

“No compromise has been made in the Bill with the compensation provisions for land owners. No provision of the Bill is anti-farmer. In fact, the Bill will bring prosperity to villages and farmers and we are ready to debate the Bill on any forum,” he said in his letter. Taking on the Opposition for “projecting” the Bill as “anti-farmer”, Gadkari said while the UPA government’s land act had kept 13 laws outside the ambit of the provisions of mandatory consent and social impact, the BJP government has added some more important issues to the exempted list, to which the opposition parties have objected.

Arguing that the government was “dedicated to the welfare of farmers, poor and labourers,” Gadkari said, “An impression is being created that we brought the amendments without speaking to the opposition. We held a meeting with all states and incorporated in our Bill their suggestions.”
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