Congress on Wednesday said Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has made “substantive changes” in the Land Acquisition Act by amending its very “heart and soul”, and asserted it would oppose the Bill in Parliament to ratify an ordinance on this issue.
The government decided to promulgate an ordinance to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The government has included five wide categories of projects — ranging from affordable housing to infrastructure — that would be exempted from the requirements of consent and social impact assessment.
Congress claimed the government has modified the consent clause and social impact assessment required for acquiring land. “Actually what we have now by this amendment is virtually Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark… Consent is out largely, so coercion is in. Social impact assessment was brought in by us because we had to demonstrate the need and necessity for public purpose and out it goes now…
What you have is a shell of a land acquisition act which pretty much resembles the 1894 Act, neither its soul, nor its essence or substance,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. He said BJP while in opposition had supported the Bill. “Were they suffering from mid-summer madness then or are they suffering from mid-summer madness now? They are taking away the heart and soul… It is completely changing the basic stricture of the concept of land acquisition as the Congress brought it,” Singhvi said.
Congress also coined an acronym “FAIL” for the Modi government. “Fail with F stands for anti-farmer, A is anti-accountability, I for intolerance and L for anti-land acquisition,” the Congress leader said. He said the government has brought in eight ordinances already, at least seven of which are on on vital substantive issues of governance “bypassing Parliament”.
The opposition party also hit out at the government for deciding to withdraw excise duty concessions to motorcycles, cars, television sets and white goods calling it an anti-people move. “The moment the government got a window opportunity to increase the duties, they have done it,” another Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said.