In an attempt to placate its allies over the amendment to the Land Ceiling Act — which was to be placed in the current session of Assembly — the CPI(M) has agreed to call an emergency Left Front meeting.
An angry Forward Bloc state secretary Ashok Ghosh called up Left Front chairman Biman Bose on Wednesday and sought an explanation as to why such a major amendment was not discussed either in the cabinet or in the Front.
The veteran leader reminded Biman that the government had attempted to bring a similar amendment even last year but had failed to do so after several Front partners opposed the move.
The amendment allows any individual or private company to acquire, hold and if necessary transfer land above the ceiling for the purpose of setting up business centres or infrastructure. The amendment bill was to be discussed in the Assembly on November 27 and its copies have already been distributed among the legislators.
According to government officials, the amendment to the Land Reforms Act had become necessary to make way for big investors in Bengal. Unless the ceiling was relaxed, big projects like the ones signed with the Tata Motors and the Salim Group would not materialise, they said.
The Forward Bloc, however, felt the move was against the spirit of the Left unity and urged the Front chairman to ask the government not to place the bill before it was discussed thoroughly. "Why would the government even attempt to pass such a bill keeping the Front and even the cabinet in the dark?" Ashok Ghosh asked.
In the last Left Front meeting attended by Jyoti Basu, the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc had alleged that the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government was taking major policy decisions without consulting its allies. Following the complaint, Basu had asked Buddhadeb to discuss major issues with the cabinet core committee and the Left Front before announcing them.
Calling the government move "unfortunate" the CPI and the RSP said they would seek time to study the bill in the Front meeting, to be held in the weekend.