Former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay on Friday hit out at Jharkhand government, saying it did not consider ground reality and feel the pulse of tribal community when it decided to amend the decades-old Chhotanagpur and Santal Paragana Tenancy Act (CNT and SPT). The Raghubar Das-led government says the amendments will allow acquisition of tribal land, while keeping the landholders’ ownership intact, for building infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and educational institutions, but the opposition parties have decried it.
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“The Chief Minister Raghubar Das is not a ‘son of soil’, so he neither worked on the ground reality nor could feel the pulses of tribal community while bringing about an amendment in the CNT and SPT, which was drafted haphazardly only to favour corporate and big businessmen,” Sahay, a senior Congress leader, alleged. The amendment has changed the nature of land from being an agriculture land to commercial land, he told a press meet alleging that the government had overlooked the provisions of Land Acquisition Act introduced by the UPA government.
CNT and SPT were framed to protect the interests of the tribal community, which was very much apprehensive of losing their land despite state governemnt’s assurance that tribals will not lose ownership over their land, Sahay said. Sahay, a former Union Minister of State for Home, said Jharkhand was a horticulture-based state and the marginalized and small farmers were solely depended on producing vegetables.
He claimed the tribal community was apprehensive that their cultural identity and livelihood will be lost. Apart from CNT and SPT, the government was also displacing people settled on non-government and forest land to benefit the corporate and big businessmen, he claimed. An all-party delegation of opposition including JMM had recently met President Pranab Mukherjee to apprise him of the prevailing situation in the state, he added.
Referring to demonetisation, Sahay claimed that the farmer community was hit hard owing to demonetization. The poor and small farmers were unable to take their produce to market and were selling foodgrains and vegetables at throw away prices, he said, adding many were dumping tomatoes at roadside. He threatened to launch an agitation on the issue of amendment in the CNT and SPT and said the entire opposition was now united.
Sahay said the opposition parties have also demanded a judicial enquiry in police firing at Barkagaon (Hazaribagh), Golla (Ramgarh) and Khunti districts, which claimed seven lives and injured many during protest against alleged forcible land acquisition of agriculture land.