Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday described the amendments made in the Chhotanagpur and Santal Paragana Tenancy Act (CNT & SPT) as the “biggest ever injustice” meted out to adivasis and moolvasis. Kumar said that the British had bowed down before the tribal movement to protect their land and enacted the tenancy law before Independence. Wondering why the Das led Jharkhand government brought in the amendments in the CNT and SPT acts, he termed the move as biggest ever injustice meted out to the state’s people. Kumar was addressing a public meeting organised by the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) at Patna, barely yards away from the residence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
Sharing the dais with JVM president and former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, Kumar said that the amendment would allow the government to convert agriculture land into commercial land without seeking the opinion of landowners.
A Land Act enacted by the erstwhile UPA government in the state had a provision for Social Impact Assessment but the CNT and SPT was deprived of this provision following the amendment, he said.
Kumar extended his support to the ongoing agitation launched by various organisation against the amendment.
In an indirect reference to the investors’ summit Momentum Jharkhand held in February, Kumar asked why investors were being invited instead of reviving the closed industries.
Industrial estates were in bad shape but the state government had formed a land bank by acquiring non-used government land, he said.
The mineral-rich state was lagging behind compared to the development works done under Marandi’s regime, Kumar said.
“We were very much hopeful that mineral-rich Jharkhand would become the no. 1 state in the country but unfortunately, it lagged behind Bihar, whose growth rate has been increasing continuously,” the chief minister said.
The budget of Bihar increased from Rs 30,000 crore when the state bifurcated, to Rs 1.60 lakh crore owing to rapid all round development, he said.
Liquor ban in Bihar has lessened domestic violence and helped people spend more money, Kumar said and expressed confidence that Jharkhand would also follow suit.
If the Das government failed to do it, Kumar said he was confident that the next government formed by Marandi would do it.
Marandi, his speech, described Kumar as a “credible leader and hope of the country to lead”.