Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government may have tried hard to explain the merits of the Land Acquisition Bill to farmers, but given the continued opposition to it, the BJP has decided to go to the people to “dispel any misgivings” about it.
The Delhi unit will on Wednesday hold a Vishaal Kisaan rally in Dwarka, where Union minister Nitin Gadkari will address farmers. All seven Delhi MPs are also likely to be present. Similar rallies are being planned in Bawana and Narela as well.
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“As Dwarka and Najafgarh are the belts which are still agricultural, so we are starting our campaign there to dispel the myths about the Land Acquisition Bill. We want to gain the farmers’ trust and confidence as opposition parties have created an atmosphere of distrust regarding the Bill,” Ramesh Bidhuri, BJP MP from South Delhi, said.
He said the rally will explain that acquisition of agricultural land will be under the state government and barren land will be surveyed before being acquired.
A pamphlet has also been prepared to be distributed at the rally and elsewhere. It says: “Congress has done nothing to implement the right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition and rehabilitation…During the Congress regime, only irrigation- and dams-related projects were exempted from social impact assessment. But the truth is that…industrial projects, defence and rural infrastructure were not exempted. Still, there has been adverse impact on industrialisation which was ignored.”
Bidhuri said farmers will be told that for development, industrialisation is a must. “Any industrial project will not be successful if they require four years just to acquire land. Cost of acquiring land is a small portion of the project budget and, if time taken for the process is shorter than 21 months, it reduces the cost by 20 per cent. Many youths are unemployed. With land acquisition comes employment,” the MP said.
Gadkari and other leader are also likely to speak about the “ground reality…where big farmers are exploiting small ones. “Agriculture is lucrative no more. Growing households have divided the fields and farming on small plots is not beneficial. If we make 70 per cent approval mandatory for acquisition, it will only benefit small farmers as big farmers acquire land from small ones and blackmail the government in to paying more,” an MP said.
Rekha Gupta, general secretary of BJP’s Delhi unit, claimed opposition parties are spreading misinformation against the ordinance. BJP leaders also said land acquired for industrial corridors will not be given to private companies.