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Govt to bring a law on land acquisition soon, says Pranab

The government on Tuesday assured Lok Sabha that the proposed Land Acquisition Act will be introduced in the house soon, after Lok Sabha MPs cutting across party lines sought new law curtailing government’s power to acquire farmland following farmers protest in Aligarh.

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2010 16:06 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

The government on Tuesday assured Lok Sabha that the proposed Land Acquisition Act will be introduced in the house soon, after Lok Sabha MPs cutting across party lines sought new law curtailing government’s power to acquire farmland 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 project developers.

“This is an important issue. I don’t want farmers to be disturbed and their interests jeopardised.”

The issue was raised by Samajwadi Party leader 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 as leaders from different parties said similar forcefully land acquisition of farmland was also been undertaken by other states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Trinamool Congress, a UPA ally, made it clear that will 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 interest,” 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. CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia, Pramod Panda of CPI and Lalu Prasad of RJD demanded quick action by the government to stop mandatory acquisition and have a proper rehabilitation package for farmers. “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.

As soon as the house resumed business, MPs from Samajwadi Party and RJD rushed into the well of the house protesting against police firing on farmers in Aligarh, after which Speaker Meira Kumar allowed leaders of all parties to speak on the issue.

First Published: Aug 17, 2010 16:05 IST