Odisha News Insight

Jairam Ramesh alleges BJD-BJP Nexus over Land Bill

Jairam-Ramesh-OdishaBy Hemanta Pande: Former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader Shri Jairam Ramesh today appealed Chief Minister of Odisha and BJD Chief Naveen Patnaik to oppose the amendments of Land Acquisition Bill in Rajya Sabha terming the controversial Bill as anti-farmer, anti-tribal and anti-democratic.

Ramesh wondered what made the BJD to remain silent over the Land Bill even as many BJP allies are against it. He asked whether the BJD wanted to extend its support to Centre in order to escape from the CBI probe into the chit fund scam where many of its leaders are alleged involved.

Addressing a press conference at Congress Bhawan in Bhubaneswar, Mr Ramesh said, the UPA Govt brought the Land Act in September 2013, after making a complete change in the colonial Land Acquisition Act, 1894. It took around two years for consultations of all political parties along with other stake holders of the country. The Bill finally got unanimous support from all political parties including BJP.

Mr Ramesh, however, accused the Modi Govt for bringing the new Land Bill through ordinance. Modi Govt has now opened the door for forcible land acquisition, he said. Mr Ramesh highlighted five important reasons for which the Congress and its UPA allies oppose the new land Bill.

First, the 2013 Land Bill says that the land can’t be acquired for private companies without the consent of 80 per cent people of affected areas on the other hand the new Bill permits the land acquisition without the consent of the people.

Secondly, Ramesh raised the most important point of social impact assessment. According to the 2013 Land Bill, social impact assessment needs to be conducted through Gram Sabha within six months before the land acquisition. Multi-crop irrigated land and no excess land or the land more than required land for the purpose can’t be acquired.

However, the congress leader accused that the Modi Govt, in the new Bill, has completely removed the criteria of social impact assessment through Gram Sabha. Thirdly, as per the 2013 Land Bill, if the acquired land is not being used for five years, the said land will be returned to the farmers. However, there is no such criterion in the new Bill, said Mr. Ramesh.

Fourthly, while the previous Land Bill permits to acquire the land necessary for the industrial corridor, the new Bill allows acquiring more land of 1km from either side of the industrial corridor. This new Bill is certainly an anti-farmer and a threat to agriculture, said Mr. Ramesh. He also pointed out that according to the 2013 Land Bill, the farmers, whose land were acquired according to the Land Act of 1984, were entitled to get four times of compensation in retrospective effect. However, the Modi Govt has removed the criteria of retrospective effect in terms of compensation to the farmers.

The Congrss leader said, Narendra Modi is now acting like the Duryadhan of Mahabharat who denied to give a small piece of land to the Pandavas and rest is the history.  He said in the 21 century Mahabharat, the farmers of the country are the Pandavas and for the interest of the farmers, the Congress and its UPA allies will fight against the new Land Bill inside and outside of the Parliament.

President Pranab Mukherjee has assented to the re-promulgation of the Land Ordinance, which came into effect from April 5. However, the Congress is going to organise a Kishan rally in New Delhi on April 19, opposing the new Land Odinace.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Suresh Pujari has slammed Jairam Ramesh over his remarks and asked him to read all features of the bill before making such statements. BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy also rubbished Ramesh’s claims, saying BJD is always with the farmers and will support the amendments that give special protections to the farmers. Or else, the party will oppose it, he said.

Leave a comment