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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Congress eyes Opposition unity against land law changes

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 09, 2014
First Published: 01:00 IST(9/8/2014) | Last Updated: 01:03 IST(9/8/2014)

After its resistance to the Insurance Bill, the Congress now plans to rope in other Opposition parties against the Modi government’s plans to amend the land acquisition law.

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Sources said that the Congress — which successfully delayed the passage of the Insurance Bill with the help of some other parties — plans to do a joint agitation with a large section of the Opposition.

While the Congress hails the Right to Fair Compensation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill as its landmark legislation, the government dispensation is considering diluting some provisions of the bill to allay the concerns of the industries.

Parties like CPI(M), CPI, JD(U), DMK and Trinamool may join hands with the Congress and force a debate in the Parliament.

The Congress may organise a joint dharna — a rare event — in the Parliament complex next week with like-minded Opposition parties against the government’s move to dilute some provisions of the land bill.

The rural development ministry, headed by Nitin Gadkari, is learnt to be keen to scrap the mandatory consent provision for public private partnership projects and reduce it to 50% from the existing 80% for private industries.

In addition, the government may restore the full power of the states that was available in the colonial 1894 land acquisition law to acquire land for “public purpose”, among other things.

On Thursday, the Congress held consultations with farmer representatives at Jawahar Bhavan. Earlier, several farmer organisations met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to express their apprehension about the possible amendments. Gandhi may personally attend the dharna at the Parliament complex.

Earlier, Jairam Ramesh, former rural minister, told HT, “There is no need for any immediate change in the new land law. SC, on many cases has upheld the law.”


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