The new Land Acquisition Bill passed in Parliament will protect the interests of farmers as well as the tribal community and if properly implemented by the State governments it will weaken the ideology of Maoist organisations, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday
“In my opinion if the Act is implemented in letter and in sprit in the Maoist-affected areas land-related problems will come down and much of the ideology of the Maoist outfits will be weakened,” he told journalists, speaking about The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
Describing the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 as “anti-democratic and anti-farmer” Mr. Ramesh said the implementation of that Act had caused a lot of anger among tribals that the Maoists exploited.
“There are only two issues — land and forest [jamin and jangal] for the Maoist organisation to thrive… there are no other issues,” he said. According to him, the Forest Rights Act, a revolutionary law if implemented properly would wipe out Maoism.
Mr. Ramesh said that it was “unfortunate” that when all the political parties supported the measure in Parliament, the Trinamool Congress chose to oppose it.
“It was with the support of the Trinamool Congress that we introduced the Bill. Unfortunately in Parliament, the public posture of the Trinamool Congress was different from its private views,” the Minister said.
He claimed he had gone out of his way to accommodate the views of the Trinamool Congress in the legislation.
Stating that land acquisition was central to the politics of West Bengal, Mr. Ramesh said, “Singur made Mamata.”
“Our experiences with Singur and Nandigram have influenced the draft of the new Act,” he said. The Central Act, he said, provides a “base minimum” on issues like consent and compensation but if States like West Bengal want to increase the compensation, they can.
On the National Food Security Act, he said the argument that the Act was anti-West Bengal was “completely bogus.”
As per the provision of the Act entitlements of foodgrains to the State would be increased from 34 lakh tonnes to 38 lakh tonnes a year and the total food subsidy to West Bengal would rise from Rs. 5,900 crore to Rs. 7,700 crore.