A Flood of Views on Land Bill Keeps JPC on its Toes

Published: 20th June 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2015 04:32 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: From the Sangh-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Vanvashi Kalyani Ashram to AAP oustees Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Land Acquisition Bill would have to lend a patient ear to varied opinions when it meets again on Monday.

About 400 memoranda have been submitted before the JPC looking into the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015, so much so that it is struggling to accommodate and schedule deposition of all parties.

Given the pressure, the JPC sources claimed it would be difficult to complete the report without an extension of its term. Chances of the report getting ready by the Monsoon Session of Parliament appears bleak.

Except for one or two, most of the memoranda have questioned the withdrawal of the consent clause.

Another focus issue is the removal of the provision that land should be returned to farmers after five years, in case no work on the ground for which the land was acquired was launched.

It seems the other major problem allegedly being faced by JPC headed by BJP MP S S Ahluwalia is the disruption being created by Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, so much so that some of the MPs who have to represent their political party’s views have not been able to open their mouth.

“We cannot even understand what language he speaks -- English, Hindi or Bangla -- and whether he is opposing or supporting. In the cacophony that he creates, we are unable give our views,” one of the MPs said.

The BJP MPs were also reportedly ticked off by Ahluwalia during the last meeting, for shouting their disapproval.

Several farmer organisations have already deposed before the panel, which has had three meetings since May 29, including the Rashtriya Kisan Union and Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan from Uttar Pradesh, Kisan Jagriti Manch and Bhartiya Kisan Union from Haryana and Khet Bachao Jeewan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti from Bihar.

The farmer bodies have expressed their strong reservations about some of the new clauses, primarily the consent and retrospective clauses.

They have claimed that any amendment to Section 24 (2) of the Act, which deals with the retrospective application of the new legislation, would cause losses to the farmers whose land had been acquired under the old 1894 Act.

The government, which got the President to re-promulgate the ordinance, is of the view that difficulties in acquiring land for important national projects, under the 2013 law, prompted them to bring the amendments.


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