MUMBAI: Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday passed the buck to the erstwhile UPA Government for favouring industries over farmers in the much talked about Land Acquisition Bill. At the same time he announced that if someone comes up with good suggestions, the Centre will incorporate them in the Bill.
Gadkari, who had handled the Rural Development Ministry for a while, has been entrusted with the task of convincing the detractors to back the government so as to ensure the passage of the controversial Bill in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament.
“The UPA Government had exempted 13 sectors from mandatory land acquisition. We have limited the number to five from the field of social infrastructure, rural infrastructure, defence, public sector industry and affordable housing,” he said here. Gadkari informed that the Transport Ministry and the Power Ministry could pay ` 3,000 crore as compensation to the farmers owing to the fact that the government had brought in an Ordinance.
“We will never compromise on the issue of compensation and rehabilitation,” he said. According to Gadkari, he would call on Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar to clear their misunderstanding on the issue.
Gadkari claimed that Maharashtra would be the worst hit if the Bill failed to clear Parliament.“Normally, around 80 per cent of the land is acquired for irrigation projects. Maharashtra will not able to increase its irrigation facilities if the farmers were to oppose the acquisition of their lands,” Gadkari said. Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan rubbished Gadkari’s argument.