The government on Tuesday assured Lok Sabha that the proposed Land Acquisition Act will be introduced in the house soon, after MPs in Lok Sabha sought a new law curtailing government’s power to acquire land following farmers protest in Aligarh.
“A comprehensive (land acquisition) bill is being considered by a Group of Ministers," Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee said, after MPs accused state governments of acquiring land from farmers forcefully for private projects. "This is an important issue. I don't want farmers’ ... interests jeopardised."
The issue was raised by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who accused the UP government of not registering a case against those who had fired on “innocent” farmers. The BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan denied the allegation and said a compromise has been worked out with the farmers.
But, this debate became a national issue after leaders pointed out that forced acquisition of farmland was also being undertaken by states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Trinamool Congress made it clear that it would oppose vesting any powers in hands of the government to acquire land. "Land should be acquired after mutual understanding which gurantees job for families of farmers. We are for a law totally for farmers...," party leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay said.
Former Prime Minister Deva Gowda termed the acquisition as "loot by government for private builders" and demanded a debate on the issue.
CPM leader Basudeb Acharia, Pramod Panda of CPI and Lalu Prasad of RJD demanded quick action to stop mandatory acquisition and have a proper rehabilitation package. "When I was the minister we had decided that only waste land would be acquired. Now, I don't know what has happened to the policy," Prasad said.