Parliament’s panel wants states views on land bill to counter Modi govt

Opposition to land bill comes loud and clear in the representations and hearings

GN Bureau | June 17, 2015

#land bill   #parliament   #states   #modi government   #ahluwalia  

The contentious land bill, officially known as Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, is meeting stiff opposition from all most sections, including the members of parliament’s joint committee on the bill.

The committee has now asked the state governments seeking their views on the legislation as the government had cited the states opposition to the 2013 bill to support its case.

The letter to states was sent by the chairman of the committee, SS Ahluwalia (BJP), at the insistence of the opposition party members in the committee. Their contention - the State governments should be roped in since their reservations about the 2013 “land acquisition law” has been repeatedly used by the Modi government to justify the amendments to the Act.

Meanwhile, the committee has been examining representations and meeting people from various sections of the society on the bill. The members claimed that practically all the 400 written representations received by the committee were against the amendments proposed by the government.

Even at the hearings, most of the organisations at the last four sittings spoke against the changes, especially dropping the social impact assessment and the consent clause. Next week the committee will be meeting activist Anna Hazare and also organisations from the Sangh Parivar.

Representatives from organisations like Foundation for Democratic Reforms, Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan, Sree Samayaa, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, PRS Legislative Research, individuals Dhanush Kumar, two young law students Aditya Manubarwala and Shardool Kulkarni have deposed before the committee.

At Tuesday’s meeting, there were some arguments over a managing director of a private company making a submission before the committee. As he began speaking in support of the bill, opposition members questioned his presence, pointing out that it was one thing for an association of businessmen to depose before the committee but such an avenue cannot be given to any one private company.

One of the members questioned why they should listen to views of people with "vested interests", saying that the particular company had interest in building construction activities.





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