KOLKATA: The Left parties would raise a demand to scrap the “archaic” Land Acquisition Act, 1884, as it facilitated land acquisition by big corporates, who took advantage of the acute distress of farmers, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said here on Sunday.
“Why are they [the Centre] delaying the scrapping of the Act?” she said. “There is utter hypocrisy in land reforms and distribution in the country.”
There was need to ensure mandatory levels of consultation and compensation and minimum level of displacement, Ms. Karat told The Hindu on the sidelines of a two-day national convention on the rights of disabled persons.
“The Left-led States have the best record in land reform,” she said. The Centre “has totally given up this crucial issue.”
The Land Acquisition Act has been a contentious issue, especially in the State, with repeated demands made for amendments to the law.
Ms. Karat said the demand to scrap the law and allot patta land to the landless and homeless would be raised at a rally called by Left parties in New Delhi on March 12.
“The rally is a part of a nationwide campaign for a reversal of policies of the Centre.”
Job guarantee scheme
A demand for a scheme that guaranteed employment for the urban poor along the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) would also be raised, she said.
The only State where an urban employment guarantee scheme was implemented was Tripura, but its impact was affected by the limited resources available.
Asked about criticism of the implementation of the MNREGS by the West Bengal government, she said the State had picked up very well over the last year as shown by the Central government figures.
Districts, including Bardhaman and Purulia, were recognised for the fastest growth under the scheme. The State government was constrained because of lack of funds.
“It is an unfortunate reality that some States, for example Rajasthan, have no problems with funds while several projects in other States cannot take off because of fund allocation,” she said.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had written thrice to the Centre on the matter and a formula was recently worked out, she pointed out.