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Cong bats for reintroducing bill on land acquisition

Terming as "barbaric" the treatment meted out to agitating farmers in Aligarh, the Congress today demanded that the Centre re-introduce the lapsed Land Acquisition Amendment Bill in Parliament expeditiously.

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2010 20:12 IST

Terming as "barbaric" the treatment meted out to agitating farmers in Aligarh, the Congress on Tuesday demanded that the Centre re-introduce the lapsed Land Acquisition Amendment Bill in Parliament expeditiously.

"We strongly condemn the barbaric treatment, which the UP government has meted out to farmers on Independence Day. This is not a question of compensation but of sensitiveness," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters in New Delhi.

Four persons, including a PAC jawan, had died in clashes between agitating farmers who are demanding a hike in compensation for their land acquired to build a township along Taj Expressway and police over the weekend in Aligarh, prompting the Opposition to demand the resignation of Chief Minister Mayawati.

The Congress on Tuesday sought registration of cases against officials responsible for death of farmers.

"Today the issue is of justice and the process of giving them justice will not begin until FIRs are registered against officers responsible for it," Tewari said.

He said though the farmers movement was led by UPCC general secretary Ram Babu Kathelia, it was "not a Congress agitation".

"Congress urges the (central) government to introduce the Relief and Rehabilitation Bill 2009 and Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha in February 2009 but lapsed as the term of the House came to an end," Tewari said.

When pointed out that Mamta Banerjee led Trinamool Congress, an ally of the UPA, has been opposing the Bills, the Congress spokesperson said the ruling coalition consists of various political parties and each of them was entitled to its view point.

He said that if at all there are certain issues that need to be ironed out, it should be done and the bills should be brought before Parliament expeditiously "either in their original form or in amended form".

A party leader on condition of anonymity, however, said that Trinamool was very much part of the coalition when the Bills were passed by Lok Sabha last year and added there was a need "to sit and talk with her (Banerjee)" on the issue.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday assured the Lok Sabha that a "comprehensive" bill on land acquisition and rehabilitation was being considered by a Group of Ministers headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

"We are considering to bring it (to Parliament) at the earliest... we have to ensure that interests of our farmers are not jeopardised. They play an important role in ensuring food security," he said.