Cong renews attack as govt reissues land bill

Rajat Kain

land-billThe Congress party on Wednesday strongly defended their stand to oppose the Ordinance on Land Acquisition. The principal opposition party termed the ordinance brought in and re-issued by the government as anti-farmer.

Former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, addressing a presser, affirmed his party’s stand that they are opposed to the Ordinance and will oppose any changes in the 2013 Land Acquisition Act both inside and outside the Parliament.

“The provisions of 2013 Land Acquisition Act are non-negotiable for the Congress Party. We strongly oppose 5 changes that are made in the original law by this government -Farmers Consent, Social Impact Assessment, returning land after 5 years of non-usage, provision of acquiring land of 1 km land on both sides of the Industrial corridors to benefit corporates and the retrospective clause” Ramesh told the press.

Accusing the Centre for running government through ordinance, the senior Congress leader claimed that the Land Acquisition Act 2013 was passed after thorough discussion on the floor of Parliament. He further added that the BJP too had voted in the favour of land bill which was brought in by the Congress-led UPA government.

The Ordinance on the Land acquisition was brought by the BJP-led NDA govt in December 2014. It has since been opposed by the collective opposition parties along with various farmer bodies and civil society.

The first leg of Budget session also witnessed a furore with Opposition members taking on the government both inside and outside the Parliament. Though the Ordinance was passed in the Lok Sabha where government enjoys majority on its own, but it was unable to even table the Ordinance in Rajya Sabha.

In a series of protest against the ordinance, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi led a march of opposition parties from the Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Opposition had then submitted a memorandum to the President Pranab Mukherjee requesting him not to sign the Ordinance in case the govt sought to re-issue it.

With no signs of opposition relenting and the ordinance slated to lapse on the 4th April, the Union government recommended the prorogation of Rajya Sabha and notified the re-issue of the Ordinance. The Ordinance couldn’t have been reissued in the normal course as the house was still in session amid recess. Thus, the recommendation to prorogue the upper house became essential.

The President is yet to sign the re-issued Ordinance on Land Acquisition.

Earlier in the day the government claimed that they are making efforts to take the opposition on board over the issue of Land Acquisition Ordinance.