Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has said he won't let the state government circumvent the Centre's new law against the forcible acquisition of farmers' land.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, Amarinder said there were reports from Ludhiana and Patiala of farmers' receiving notices under the older Land Acquisition Act of 1894. "The notification's timing betrays the malicious intent of the state's Akali-BJP government to deny the farmers the benefits of the new law that will come into effect in less than a month, on January 1, 2014," he said.
The Punjab government had issued the land-acquisition notices to hundreds of farmers in the two districts to safeguard the colonial interests of the ruling Akalis, said the Congress leader, adding that the older Act stood repealed after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had enacted the new Land Acquisition Act at the Centre in August.
Under the new law, he said, the government could acquire no land without the consent of at least 80% of the affected people. "Besides, the compensation has to be four times the existing market rates in rural areas, and twice the rate in urban areas. Also, one member of each affected family has to be given job," said Amarinder.