Reference of LARR to the Group of Ministers by PM is unfortunate
UPA Government Must Stand with Aam Aurat / Aadmi not with Corporate Lobby
New Delhi, August 29 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to refer the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill (LARR) 2012 to the Group of Ministers, as Cabinet could not agree on the provisions of the Bill as it stands. It is unfortunate. Going by the news reports Prime Minister is paying attention to the objections raised by the Ministry of Commerce, Civil Aviation, Urban Development, Highways and others, while the voices of farmers organisations, social movements and concerns raised by the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Tribal Affairs, Housing and Urban Development are being ignored. This shows clearly the priorities of the UPA government and exposes the claims of the Ministers sitting in the Cabinet and claiming to represent interests of farmers, workers and landless. Their constituency needs good roads to their villages, schools and hospitals and not airports and 6 – 8 lane highways like Yamuna Expressway which are profit making ventures for corporates directly or through public-private joint ventures.
The referring of the Bill to the Group of Ministers is a clear indication of the pressure from the corporate houses who want to continue their profit making ventures. All party Parliamentary Standing Committee has given its recommendations which should be used to improve the Bill rather than dilute it further. It should act as the guidelines to the UPA government to bring the revised Bill sooner in the Parliament rather than continue the forcible land acquisitions for the private corporations. NAPM demands that the new GoM must not be headed by anti-farmer, pro-corporate minister, it has to be either tribal affairs, rural development or social justice empowerment minister.
Ignoring the Committee recommendations, the Bill has widened the definitions of ‘Public Purpose’, beyond acceptable limits which even British never did, by creating a category of ‘public interest’ projects, fraudulently. Forcibly acquiring land and everything attached to land (crores of rupees worth minerals or invaluable ground water) from farmers for the profit – making millionaires is the grand design of the Indian rulers in collusion with the corporations.
The Bill has gone through certain improvements based on suggestions received from various social movements and recommendations of the Standing Committee, yet it falls short of what is required to protect natural and human resource-based communities and uphold truly democratic development planning. This is the view of the masses, not the corporates. On which side are the government and political parties? They can’t sit on the fence when farms are burning !
Medha Patkar, Vimal Bhai, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar
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