Amid Congress protests, Telangana Assembly passes Land Bill
Amid vociferous protest by the opposition Congress, the Telangana legislature on Sunday passed an amendment bill to the Land Acquisition Act, cleared by it in December last year, in a specially convened one-day sitting here.
The passage of the bill added to ongoing war of words between the ruling TRS and the opposition parties, including the Congress, BJP and TDP, over helping chilli farmers in the state who are protesting against lack of remunerative price for their crop.
The special sitting, called to amend the Land Acquisition Act, concluded in just about 10 minutes without much debate.
The amendments to the Act were taken up following a suggestion from the Centre. In the Assembly, the Congress members sought to raise the issue of farmers' problems while holding placards. They refused to speak on the bill though Speaker S Madhusudanchary asked them to do so, saying the amendment bill was taken up as per a directive from the President.
As Congress members refused to comply, the speaker asked AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen) member Ahmed Pasha Quadri to speak on the bill. When the MIM member began to speak, the Congress members raised slogans and some of them entered the well of the House. They were stopped from moving ahead by marshalls.
Saying that the Congress members appeared not keen on speaking on the Bill, Legislative Affairs Minister T Harish Rao said the Bill be passed.
The bill was passed after the speaker completed the due procedure. He then adjourned the House sine die. Opposition BJP and TDP were not part of the proceedings as they were suspended from the House earlier.
Talking to reporters after the House was adjourned, the Leader of Opposition (Congress) K Jana Reddy alleged that the government adopted an undemocratic and dictatorial attitude in not allowing his party members to raise farmers' problems. Favouring conducting a social impact assessment in the process of land acquisition, Congress MLA and state unit president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said his party would meet President Pranab Mukherjee to urge him not to accept the bill.
Countering the Congress' allegations, Deputy Chief Minister (Education) K Srihari found fault with the Congress members for not participating in the debate on the bill. The government is ready to address concerns in the interests of farmers if the Congress pointed out any shortcomings in the bill, he said.
The war of words with the TRS was preceded by the protests held by Congress and other opposition parties seeking remunerative price for chilli farmers. With some persons vandalising a market yard office at Khammam a few days ago, Congress and TDP blamed the TRS government for failing to help chilli farmers.