Even as the government indicated it was willing to climb down from its position on the land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement (amendment) bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Opposition MPs continued to counter the bill – demanding that it be referred to the parliamentary standing committee.
During a debate on the bill, MPs belonging to the Congress, Left, Trinamool Congress, Biju Janat Dal (BJD) and AIADMK were critical of the government’s move to do away with Section 2 and 3A of the existing land acquisition law – which provides for social impact assessment before land transfer and other clauses for safeguarding the interest of farmers.
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkiah Naidu intervened in the debate to say that the government was “willing to go in for an amendment in the bill in the larger interest of the country and community”.
Opposition MPs moved as many as 52 amendments to the proposed legislation – which is scheduled to be taken up for passage on Tuesday. “The government is willing to consider these amendments. I hope that rural development minister Birendra Singh will look into the possibility of reducing the land for industrial corridors being planned to boost manufacturing sector in the country,” Naidu said.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia accused the government of going ahead with the amendments to the land act without discussing these with the Opposition and said that the NDA government’s slogan of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas’ (support of all, development for all) had “fallen flat on the face as it was now ignoring the interest of farmers.”
“65% of India’s population is dependent on agriculture, but the government is only thinking about the corporates,” he said.
Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) accused the government of taking away farmers’ rights and said his government will oppose the bill ‘tooth and nail’.