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RSS-body Swadeshi Jagran Manch slams Land Bill

Mumbai,Nikhil M Ghanekar: Even as depositions before the Joint Committee of Parliament on Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2015 came to an end, another RSS affiliate body Swadeshi Jagran Manch slammed the amendments in the Bill and said that the Land Bill ordinance of 2014 was brought in ‘undue hurry’. Along with Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, SJM became the fourth affiliate of the Sangh parivar to demand repeal of the controversial amendments that the National Democratic Alliance government introduced.

The Joint Committee was formed to examine the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015. After Tuesday’s meeting, the committee has now recorded a total of 52 depositions and is likely to begin clause by clause discussion on the amendments in next week’s meeting, sources said. The committee is also going to miss its July 21 deadline to submit its report to the Parliament and has got one more week to finish its examination.

In its lengthy and sharp deposition before the joint committee SJM, the economic wing of the RSS, said that the re-promulgated Bill contains several detestable and unacceptable sections, even after incorporation of several amendments that have been included in the second amendment under intense public pressure. It said that cultivable and arable land is under serious onslaught from multi-nationals and corporates, who with the help of governments are accumulating and taking over more arable land from the poor.

SJM has demanded that the government should re-introduce the clauses of social impact assessment and reinstate the land acquisition consent to 80% for private projects and 70% for public-private partnerships. It has also asked the government to issue a white paper about acquisition of land by governments since 1947 stating its present status, unused land lying with government and also with big industries.

On Tuesday, the joint committee also recorded deposition of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Nagpur, Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Dehradun and National Academy of Agriculture Sciences.

Govt dragging the process

According to sources, from next week onwards, the committee is likely to meet only once a week instead of the usual two meetings. The Bharatiya Janata Party, that was initially keen on moving swiftly through the meetings, is now trying to drag the process, sources said, to stave off any debate on land bill in the monsoon session. The government is already anticipating a stormy session in the light of the controversy surrounding its senior leaders.

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