Deccan Herald, July 2 2015, New Delhi: The government on Thursday stated that it was right about the land acquisition bill and suggestions put forward “in the interest farmers” would be accommodated.
“There is no such rigidity on part of the government. We are willing to accept any good suggestion if it is in the interest of the farmers,” Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh told journalists.
His comment came in the backdrop of the NDA allies — the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Swabhimani Paksha —red-flagging some of the provisions in the Bill that was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 11 to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparence in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.
Singh, however, said that the government also disagreed with the view of the Congress and some other opposition parties that the 2013 law should remain unchanged.
“If any suggestion comes regarding any clause of the Bill, we are ready to consider it in the interest of farmers,” said the minister.
The Bill sought to empower the Centre or the State governments to acquire land without carrying out social impact assessment if the acquisition is for setting up facilities for “defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including electrification, housing for poor including affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including projects taken up under Public Private Partnership mode, where ownership of the land continues to be vested with the government.”
It also wanted to do away with the requirement of obtaining consent of 80 per cent of people to be affected by the project if the government is acquiring land for private entities for those specified purposes.
With the Bill being currently considered by a 30-member joint committee of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, an ordinance having the same effect was promulgated for the third time on June 1.
“I am hopeful that some consensus will be arrived among political parties in the report of the Joint Committee,” said Singh, reiterating that the move to amend the 2013 Act was initiated after governments of several states, including the ones ruled by the Congress, demanded change in the law.
The Shiv Sena, which is the second largest constituent of the NDA after the BJP, has been demanding that no land should be acquired without the consent of at least 70 per cent of the owners.
At least four RSS offshoots – Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Bharaiya Mazdoor Sangh and Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram are also opposed the Bill. They are of the view that the provisions of seeking consent of owners and conducting social impact assessment before acquisition of land should not be done away with.