A kind of class division comes to the fore at the hearing on the controversial land bill
GN Bureau | June 23, 2015
A clear division of interest is becoming evident with surprising dispositions as the hearing on the controversial land acquisition bill by before the joint parliamentary committee picks pace.
While the industries body CII, in an obvious stand supported the bill, grassroots organizations opposed it. The surprise element that emerged on Monday was strong opposition voiced by three RSS affiliates - the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh(BKS) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (ABVKA).
In an embarrassing counter to the Modi government, the BMS, BKS and the ABVKA made it clear that they were not happy about the proposed changes in the bill. Usually, the ruling party gets support from its affiliate organizations and in this case the BJP-led NDA government has been keen that they toe the government’s line.
Barring the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), seven organisations expressed their strong reservations to the government-sponsored amendments in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.
The labour organization BMS voiced its disquiet with clauses relating to private entities, creation of a one kilometre-wide industrial corridor, and doing away with the provisions on social impact assessment and consent. It in fact was opposed to all the amendments sought by the government.
The ABVKA that works amongst tribals, said that special attention should be paid to ensure that no land in scheduled areas should be taken in a manner that violates two key acts. Stressing the critical need for prior consultation with populations that could be affected by land acquisition, especially the SCs and STs,
The farmers outfit (BKS) said that while rural areas need to be developed, the infrastructure that comes up there needs to be clearly defined. The BKS also suggested the creation of a land bank and wanted a uniform compensation of four times in both rural and urban areas.
The BKS has stated that farmers’ interests have been ignored by doing away with the social impact assessment and diluting the clause relating to returning unutilised land. In curious departure from the stand taken by other two organsations, the BKS suggested 500 metres corridor, instead of rejecting the proposed one kilometre-wide industrial corridor.
The other organisations that deposed before the committee were the Swaraj Abhiyan led by ex-Aam Aadmi Party leaders Yogendra Yadav and Anand Kumar, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan that works in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, the CPI(M)- affiliated All India Democratic Women’s Association, represented by Jagmati Sangwan, Maimoona Mollah and Archana Prasad, and Amnesty International.
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