Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ordinance on land acquisition will take the country back to 1894


From: media cell aap  Tue, 30 Dec '14 6:43p
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
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Aam Aadmi Party chief spokesperson Yogendra Yadav issued the following statement on Tuesday, 30 December 2014 :
The AAP is opposed to the ordinance approved by the union cabinet on Monday to amend the Land Acquistion Act, 2013. The party has five major objections to this ordinance :  

1)  The amendment will nullify the hard earned gains of movements against forced acquisition and displacement. After a long struggle and negotiation, these movements had forced the government to agree to some basics:
* that the land acquisition must not take place without consent
* that land acquisition must not be permitted in multi-crop land where it goes against food security
* that acquisition must be preceded by an assessment of its impact not just on land owners but on the society as a whole
The government';s amendment would mean that now social Impact assessment, food security assessment & consent of 70% of land owners will not be required before acquiring land for five broad categories that the government has specified (more on these categories in point 2). Thus for all practical purposes, we are back to the draconian 1894 Act which peoples movements had fought to change.
2) The government proposes to exempt five categories of Acquisitions from the procedural requirements of the 2013 Act. These five categories are: defence, industrial corridors, rural infrastructure, affordable housing including housing for the poor and any infrastructure including social infrastructure in PPP mode where the land is owned by the government. Just look at these four categories and imagine what greedy builders, politicians and bureaucrats can do with these five categories. Basically they would be able to fit every acquisition under one of these five categories. so, in effect the Amendment annuls the Act itself.
3)  The Ordinance violates the basic spirit of why ordinance is needed. Ordinance route has been provided for in order to meet an emergency situation in-between two sessions of parliament. What was the emergency in this case? The next session is in the third week of February. Why could the government not wait till then?
4) The Act of 2013 was passed with support from most political parties including the BJP. The parliamentary Committee that cleared the bill was headed by Ms. Sumitra Mahajan, the current speaker. What has changed since then?
5) The Act has not got a fair chance so far. Most states have not framed Rules necessary for its implementation. How come it has been found to be impractical without even a trial?
The simple truth is that the BJP has decided to favour big business and industry in the hope that the farmers will not understand or challenge its move. The onus now is on the farmers to prove this government wrong. (

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