More organisations and farmer groups making representations to the Joint Committee of Parliament, which is examining the NDA government’s Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, opposed the changes to the 2013 legislation on Tuesday.
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Among them were former BJP ideologue Govindacharya and social activist Anna Hazare’s organisations, which questioned the “haste” with which the changes were being brought in through ordinances. They alleged that the changes will “damage” farmers and are aimed at “furthering the interests of capitalists”.
The panel, headed by BJP MP S S Ahluwalia, heard Hazare’s Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan Nyas (BVJAN), the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), All-India Kisan Sabha, Asian Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Policy Research among others during its seventh meeting on Tuesday.
In a written representation, Govindacharya said the government’s move to promulgate an ordinance thrice on the matter has sent a message that it was being done to further the interests of capitalists at the cost of farmers. He demanded that the Centre drop the ordinance route and make a law better than the 2013 Land Acquisition Act.
Hazare’s BVJAN questioned the use of the word “private entity” and the government’s intent behind it, claiming it was “anti-farmer”. In its suggestions, it said there was lack of clarity in the definition of infrastructure projects and objected to the acquisition of multi-crop land.
“Government today wants to acquire that land, which give more than two crops annually. This is anti-farmer and anti-agriculture. This will bring down agriculture production and in times to come will lead to food grain problem,” it said. In a written submission, Hazare said his organisation’s struggle was not against any individual or party but against the system.
A number of Gujarat-based NGOs also raised their objections before the panel, saying abolishing key clauses reflected the NDA government’s “top down” approach to development.