Centre to promulgate land bill ordinance for third time

  • PTI, Kochi
  • Updated: May 14, 2015 22:25 IST

With the controversial land acquisition bill being referred to a joint parliamentary committee, government on Thursday said it would re-promulgate the related ordinance for the third time.

Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said there were 13 legislations which are already out of the purview of the present 2013 Land Acquisition legislation and "to include those we issued that ordinance, and now for the continuation of that ordinance if we have to issue another fresh ordinance, it would be (issued)".

Singh, who was on a visit to Kerala, was replying to a question from reporters on the sidelines of a function here whether the government would re-promulgate the ordinance on Land Acquisition in wake of failure to get the bill passed in the Budget Session which concluded yesterday.

Faced with stiff resistance from Opposition and allies, the NDA government on May 12 referred the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015, to the joint committee for scrutiny.

It had earlier promulgated ordinance twice on the bill since last December after it faced similar resistance.

According to officials, the government has time till the end of this month to re-issue the ordinance by an executive order. The Union Cabinet will have to ratify the re-issuance of the ordinance before it goes to the President for his assent.

The government, which could not get the ordinance converted into a legislation in Rajya Sabha during the first half of the budget session due to stiff opposition, had re-promulgated it on April 3, a day before it was to lapse.

While bringing the first ordinance last December, the government had said its decision to amend the Act was to bring under its purview 13 central legislations, including those relating to defence and national security, to provide higher compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired.

According to the ordinance, provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 will be applicable for the 13 existing central pieces of legislation including the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act, 1957, the National Highways Act, 1956 and the Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, 1885.

Reddy claimed the decision to refer it to the parliamentary committee was taken only to "postpone the catastrophe of the Bill being rejected by Rajya Sabha".

"The committee has only one communist member, Mohammed Salim, from CPI(M). Majority of its members are from BJP. So, we know what is going to be the committee report. Our point is that the Bill must be withdrawn," he said.

Besides Reddy, party secretaries Atul Kumar Anjaan and Amarjeet Kaur, National Executive member Annie Raja and others addressed the Delhi rally.

Anjaan termed the legislation a "Land Grab Bill" while Annie Raja said that instead of acquisition, what was required was land reforms. Amarjeet Kaur for her part warned the government not to take on the country's farmers.

Party Deputy General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta addressed a rally in Patna.

Congratulating its members for taking part in the rallies, CPI said it will intensify protests along with other Left parties if its demands were not considered.

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