The Times Of India, 9 Aug 2014, Lucknow: Three years after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched the Bhatta-Parsaul initiative to oppose the acquisition of fertile farm land, forcibly, the Congress has decided to revive the land acquisition debate in the country.
Opposing the NDA government’s proposals to amend the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARRA) Act, 2013, which the UPA II ushered in, UP Congress said the amendments will have a devastating effect on farmers across India.
Under the current proposals, the Centre is mulling easing the acquisition norms, allegedly to favour private entities. Former member of the Central employment guarantee council, Sanjay Dixit, said, “The BJP government is considering amending the LARR Act to favour private entities.”
Industry and real estate developers have mainly objected to three points in the Act. They have opposed the centre’s role in land acquisition, the consent clause in PPP projects, and the need to conduct impact assessment studies before land acquisition. In their proposals, the Centre is considering doing away entirely with the ?consent clause’ for PPP projects, where it is presently mandatory to get the consent of at least 70% land owners in PPP projects, and 80% land owners for private projects. Alleging that the BJP government is now proposing to do away completely with the consent clause for PPP projects and reduce it to 50% for private projects, the Congress said it will oppose this amendment in all states and Parliament.
The Congress has got support from unusual quarters. Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a RSS-affiliated organisation working in the farm sector, has directed Modi government to not ‘dilute’ the LARR Act. National secretary of BKS Mohini Mohan Mishra said they will take their opposition of the decision to the streets if the government tries to push through the reforms forcibly.