Real estate Bill: Oppn stonewalling
With the Opposition staging a united fight against the controversial Real Estate Bill, the fate of the proposed law hangs in balance. The Opposition parties insisted on sending the Bill to a Select Committee of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The development comes in the backdrop of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, vowing to oppose the Bill in a meeting with flat owners in the National Capital Region (NCR). Gandhi alleged that the Bill would favour builders at the cost of middle-class buyers.
The Real Estate (Amendment) Bill was listed for consideration and passage, but the Opposition members objected to this, saying that Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu had assured the House that it would be introduced only after consultations with various political parties.
The issue was raised by Naresh Agrawal of the Samajwadi Party, seconded by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.
They demanded that the Bill be referred to the Select Committee. Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress) also made the same demand.
Sensing the mood, the government, which faces number crunch in the Upper House, said it was not insisting on taking up the Bill, even though it was listed. Naidu said he had informed the House that he would not take up the Bill for consideration till consultations with the parties are over.
“I have started consulting political parties. I could not complete the consultations due to holidays. I have talked to some people on telephone and talked to some others today... I am not pursuing the Bill till the consultation process is complete,” he said.
Naidu said he would like the House to consider whether or not to send the Bill to the Select Committee, before the end of the session on May 13. However, some members objected to this also, prompting the Minister to say that he would bring the Bill only after the consultation process is completed.
The Minister said the Bill had been listed as “a matter of abundant caution” as business has been carried forward for Tuesday. “As a matter of abundant caution, the business has been carried forward. The consultation process is on. I will keep the assurance given by me. I also have in mind the suggestion of sending the Bill to a Select Committee,” Naidu stated.