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Govt reaches out to Oppn on Land Bill

It hopes to ensure the Bill’s smooth passage in the second half of the Budget session,beginning April 22.

In a push to the contentious Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill before the all-party meeting on April 18,the Centre is reaching out to various political parties in an attempt to forge consensus. It hopes to ensure the Bill’s smooth passage in the second half of the Budget session,beginning April 22.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh met Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and CPI leader D Raja Thursday and is scheduled to meet JD(U) president Sharad Yadav and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury Friday to seek their views and address their concerns on the Bill. He is also likely to meet SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav and CPM leader Basudeb Acharia soon. “There is a need for a comprehensive legislation but how it should be is under discussion. We have concerns which we will convey to the government. The minister assured me they would look into our concerns,” Raja said after meeting Ramesh.

Political parties failed to evolve a consensus on the Bill in the last meeting Tuesday,but took a step forward by deciding not to send it back to a Parliamentary committee. Instead,they would send their comments to the ministry by April 15. The CPM,however,has been sticking to its demand of sending the Bill to a Standing or Select Committee. The BJP has proposed amendments to protect farmers’ interests with Swaraj suggesting that land be taken on lease instead of being acquired so the ownership remains with the farmer. The party has submitted 12 recommendations to the ministry.

The Bill was tabled in Parliament in September 2011. It was referred to a Standing Committee which gave its recommendations in May 2012.

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First published on: 12-04-2013 at 12:33:22 am
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