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Land Bill row: Govt may move amendment on ‘private entity’

Land Bill row: Govt may move amendment on ‘private entity’
Facing fire from the opposition over amendments to the Land Bill, Government is learnt to have restricted the definition of a private body which acquires land for its projects.

A day before The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill comes up for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha, Government on Sunday indicated to the Opposition that it would move an official amendment replacing the term ‘private entity’ with ‘private enterprise’. The move seeks to restrict those in the private sector who plan to acquire land. There were worries that a private individual may pass off as a ‘private entity’ to acquire land, for say a college or an institution.

Sources said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will interact with leaders of political parties in Lok Sabha to discuss the issue tomorrow morning. Jaitley, Naidu and Singh are learnt to have met on Sunday and discussed various dimensions of the issue, the sources said. While the UPA’s Act of 2013 stated that land can be acquired for private companies, the NDA ordinance and the subsequent bill introduced on February 26 in Lok Sabha replaced the term ‘private company’ with private entity. A private entity is an entity other than a government entity, and could include a proprietorship, partnership, company, corporation, non-profit organisation, or other entity under any other law.

Eight hours have been allotted for the discussion on the controversial amendment Bill. Parliamentary sources said the discussions will begin on Monday in Lok Sabha and may continue on Tuesday as well. Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will lead JD(U) leaders and workers while observing a 24-hour fast in the state on March 14 protesting against the land acquisition bill and other policies of the NDA government at the Centre.

The JD(U) has decided to observe 24-hour fast on March 14 next to protest against the NDA government’s land acquisition bill and other policies having wider ramification for the country and its people, party’s state unit president Bashistha Narayan Singh told reporters. 

The party functionaries will observe the fast at the party office here, he said.

Simultaneously, party workers will observe fast at the district and block levels on the same day to apprise the people about the pitfalls of the land acquisition bill, Singh said.
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