Land bill: Opposition members in joint panel want PM Modi’s explanation

New Delhi(PTI): Opposition members in the joint committee of Parliament examining the contentious land acquisition bill on Monday demanded calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a witness, an idea opposed by the ruling BJP and ally Shiv Sena.

Narendra Modi

As soon as the meeting began here, members from Trinamool Congress said that since the ordinance to amend the land bill has lapsed, the bill should be withdrawn as they are identical in nature.
But BJP and Shiv Sena members in the panel opposed the demand saying that the committee has been mandated to submit its report on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 and it should adhere to its responsibility.

At this, Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) said since Prime Minister Modi had himself made it clear in his August 30 ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio broadcast that the land ordinance will not be re-promulgated, there is no point in examining the bill since it is a copy of the ordinance. Amid a debate, he demanded that the Prime Minister be called as a witness to explain about the bill. His demand was supported by Congress members who said the panel was free to call anyone as witness.

The demand of the Congress and the Trinamool Congress was opposed by BJP and Shiv Sena. Before the meeting was adjourned, panel chairman S S Ahluwalia suggested that the panel get another extension till the end of the Winter session on December 23 to submit its report. If the Committee seeks another extension, then the possibility of the land bill clearing Parliament in the Winter session beginning November 26 seems remote.
In August, the panel had been granted a fresh extension to submit its report in the Winter session. Ahluwalia had been striving to submit a unanimous report.

“Rise&Shine.In Del for Land Acqstn Bill panel meeting. Why drag it on? Govt should withdraw and move on. Peace offering before Winter Session?,” another TMC member in the panel Derek O’ Brien had tweeted this morning ahead of the meeting. In his ‘Mann ki baat’ Modi had said that the government will not re-promulgate the land ordinance which expired on August 31 and had declared readiness to accept any suggestions to benefit the farmers in the pending bill on it.