NEW DELHI: The Opposition has escalated the attack against the government over land acquisition bill that is being examined by a joint committee of Parliament by staging a walk out from Thursday
meeting. Congress leader and member of the panel KV Thomas told the Express that they raised questions over Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to withdraw the changes in his radio programme 'Man Ki Baat' in August 2015 and the relevance of continuing the panel meeting.
“Prime Minister in his radio programme said that the amendments in Right to Fair Compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill would be withdrawn. This committee has been constituted by the Parliament while Prime Minister made the statement outside. So, in this situation, we wanted to know what is the use of this committee? why we are holding the meetings unless there is a clarity from the government on withdrawal of amendments?," Congress leader Thomas said further adding that they have also handed over a letter to the Chairman demanding an explanation on certain issues.
He said NCP leader Sharad Pawar and two other Congress members- Digvijay Singh and PL Punia- also staged walk out. “When we raised this issue, the Chairman said he will speak to the Prime Minister Office to clarify the matters raised by us. We want clarity on the issue. Perhaps Cabinet Secretary or some top officer of the government should appear before the panel. We have also decided to raise the matter during the upcoming session of Parliament and Prime Minister should clarify the issue in the house,” the Congress leader further added.
While on the other hand, Chairman of the panel and BJP Member Ganesh Singh defended the proceedings arguing that it was tasked to complete a job and he will ensure that it is done properly.
“We had invited Madhya Pradesh state to record their views on the bill. We heard them. We had also invited top officers from Coal India and other Public Sector Undertakings from the mining sector. The committee continued with the proceeding that started at 11 and ended at 2 pm. If some members have raised a certain issue that would be addressed accordingly,” Singh told this newspaper.
The joint Parliamentary committee to examine the contentious bill was constituted in 2015 after opposition parties had strongly opposed the NDA’s legislation. Earlier in April this year, the panel was given ninth extension.