While he did not boycott the NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi like most of his other non-NDA counterparts, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar did not mince any words in opposing the BJP government’s proposed amendments to the Land Acquisition Act. Addressing the meeting, he said the amendments proposed by the BJP government had weakened many of the “minimal safeguards” in the 2013 Act.
The 2013 Act, he added, had emerged through long deliberations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and a consultative process involving different political parties, farmers’ organisations, rural poor and other concerned individuals. “Despite some limitations, the land Act of 2013 had certain principles enshrined in it to ensure some protection for the farmers and dependents on land and safeguard the food security concerns of the country.
The amendments proposed weaken each one of these minimal safeguards. They are a step backwards towards the framework of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894,” he said.
He added that the amendment to exempt areas like defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects “reinstates the Eminent Domain or the power of the state to forcibly acquire land without the owner’s consent”.