Govt can’t acquire land without farmers’ consent: Athawale
Even as the opposition remains divided over the contentious Land Acquisition Bill, Republican Party of India (Athawale) Chief Ramdas Athawale on Sunday said the government cannot acquire a piece of land without the consent of farmers. “Even if the consent clause and the requirement of a social impact assessments before notification of the acquisition is done away with, the consent of farmer (owning the land) is very important. Development cannot happen at the cost of farmers,” Athawale, a Rajya Sabha member, told reporters here. “The government needs to ensure that if the land acquired by farmers is not put to use within a period of three years, it is returned to the farmer. It is of utmost importance to work in the interest of farmers,” he said. The Lok Sabha last week passed the Land Acquisition Bill with nine amendments, and now faces the real test in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in minority.