Having unsuccessfully tried to push through amendments in the Chhotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act for almost a year, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has now called for broad-based discussion on the issue. The move comes after the Governor returned the amendment Bill to the government last month.
During a meeting of the Tribal Advisory Council (TAC), a constitutional body that advises the Governor on tribal welfare, on Monday, it was decided that the proposed amendments to Section 21 of CNT Act and Section 13 of SPT Act, which sought to enable tribals to use their land commercially, would be withdrawn. The TAC is chaired by the CM by virtue of being head of the council of ministers. The state Cabinet ratified the decision to withdraw the amendments on Tuesday.
The other proposed amendments, pertaining to transfer of tribal land through Scheduled Areas Regulation courts and acquisition of tribal land by the government, will be discussed in the next meeting on August 3.
Speaking to mediapersons after Monday’s meeting, Das said his government would reach out to all stakeholders, including the opposition, for a consensus, as it was concerned with tribal welfare and had proposed the amendments in public interest. He also reiterated that several people created confusion on the issue.
Ever since the government decided to amend the tenancy Acts, there has been widespread opposition against the move. Besides the Opposition, a large number of social organisations and the Church spoke against it. Even BJP’s tribal MLAs expressed concerns over the issue.
Tala Marandi, former state BJP chief and a tribal MLA, said, “With the kind of situation that developed over the last one year, it was clear that there was a lapse. But now we should look at the positive side. The government’s attempt has created an atmosphere in which people from all sections are better informed about these two tenancy Acts.”