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Barbs Fly as Acquisition Bill 'Lands' in the Lower House

As govt introduces bill, members troop into Well, protest, raise slogans; finally stage walkout

Published: 25th February 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2015 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

Arvind

NEW DELHI: Amid strong protests, sloganeering and walkout by the Opposition, the government on Tuesday introduced the controversial Land Acquisition Bill in the Lok Sabha.

The entire Opposition was up on its feet as soon as the Rural Development Minister sought Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s permission to introduce the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015. MPs from TMC, Congress, RJD, SP and AAP trooped into the Well of the House demanding that the government withdraw the “anti-farmer” Bill immediately.

The stage for vociferous protest was set in motion early in the morning when Trinamool members agitated in front of Parliament while activist Anna Hazare was training his guns on the government from Jantar Mantar.

Trinamool MP Saugata Roy said the Bill is the most anti-farmer and anti-poor legislation. He accused the government of removing the social impact assessment part for five different types of projects, further arguing that if the Bill is brought in, it will sound the death knell for farmers. “It will be a great help to corporates who want to grab land from poor farmers. We shall oppose this Bill with full force. Already there is an agitation outside Ram Lila Maidan,” Roy said.

Interestingly, Raju Shetty, member of NDA ally Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana, launched a scathing attack. Taking a jibe at the ruling BJP’s election slogan “achhe din”, Shetty said “Acche din for farmers will not come if this Bill is cleared.”

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge charged that the government was bulldozing procedure and using ordinance route for land acquisition.

In the Rajya Sabha too, the Opposition cornered the government. After nearly an hour of noisy discussion, leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the government was ready to hold talks with Opposition parties. Refuting the charge of the Opposition that the government was bypassing Parliament, Jaitley pointed out that Congress-run governments had passed 80 per cent of the 636 ordinances since Independence.

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