Land Bill runs into Oppn roadblock
The Congress made it clear that it was not amenable to “any change” in the 2013 land act. The opposition said the “draconian” and “anti-poor” provisions of the bill would have a deleterious effect on the country’s food security.
The Opposition members, ranging from the Cong and TMC to the Left, BJD and AIADMK, closed rank as the bill was moved for consideration and passing by Rural Development Minister Birender Singh. Participating in the discussion, Jyotiraditya Scindia of Congress said the law in its present form would allow private entities to take away multi-crop land, which would put at stake food security of the people of the country. “Is the government trying to reduce this country to an importer of foodgrains? If this bill gets passed, farmers will give up all expectations from this country,” Scindia said.
Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) accused the government of taking away farmers’ rights and said his government would oppose the Bill “tooth and nail” to safeguard their interests. “This government is for the corporates, this government is anti-poor, anti-farmer and will sell the country to industrialists,” the TMC parliamentarian said.
Along with the land Bill, the House on Monday took up a statutory resolution, moved by NDA partner Swabhimani Paksha and Opposition parties like Congress, CPI(M), TMC, RSP and BJD,
The amendments, among other things, seek to exempt social impact surveys for land acquisition for five purposes including industrial corridor, rural infrastructure and housing for poor. As the Rural Minister moved the Bill for consideration, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that he should explain some provisions of the bill before a discussion could be initiated. Singh, however, said he would speak only when he replies to the debate.
During the discussion, KN Ramachandran (AIADMK) dubbed some of the amendments as “ultra-reformist” and said his party had strong reservations against exempting land acquisition by private hospitals and private educational institutions. Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said the amendments were detrimental to the interests of the poor who would lose their land without compensation.