Difference with government on three issues on land bill: Congress

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday said his party had differences with the central government on three issues concerning the land acquisition bill including the time period of returning land to the owner if it is not used.

Talking to reporters here, Ramesh said his party would be firm on its stance on the three issues at the meetings of the joint committee of parliament which is looking into the bill.

Ramesh said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was keen on 15 amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

The former union minister said there was unanimity on six amendments, four of which were procedural.

He said the government had changed its stance on six issues including on consent and social impact assessment in line with provisions of the 2013 Act.

“There are three issues pending on which there is no common understanding. Congress is firm on its stance. It will not allow them to be adopted,” he said.

Ramesh said the 2013 Act provided that land should be returned to the owner in five years if it is not used for the purpose for which it had been acquired.

“The BJP wants that the stipulation of five years should be removed and time limit should be decided by the government. We have said we will not compromise,” Ramesh said.

He said the BJP-led government wants to weaken the retrospective clause.

“If we accept (the amendment) it will close the door by which lakhs of farmers can benefit (for additional compensation). It is like ‘One rank, One pension’ issue (for soldiers). Lakhs (of farmers) are affected,” Ramesh said.

He said there were also differences with the government over section 113, under which which the power with the state to remove difficulties which may arise in giving effect to the provisions of the law can only be exercised after a period of five years against two years under the 2013 Act.

“This is not acceptable to us,” he said.

The land bill brought by the NDA government has not been passed in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks majority. The government has brought ordinances concerning its bill.

 

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