Land Bill: Congress attacks govt. over Gadkari’s letter

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:31 pm IST

Published - March 19, 2015 12:46 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari. File photo

Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari. File photo

The government’s efforts to battle the perception of the Land acquisition Bill being “anti-farmer” saw Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari write an open letter to detractors on Thursday; a day after it became evident that the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and social activist Anna Hazare were in communication over the draft legislation.

Apart from seeking to counter the Opposition’s specific objections to the Bill and also echoed by Anna Hazare, the Minister threw a challenge for an open debate on the contentious piece of legislation.

The Congress responded within hours, demanding that the Land acquisition ordinance be withdrawn first and an apology be tendered to the farming community by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

Since Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh was not included in the ministerial delegation that met the President when he sought clarifications on the ordinance in January, the Congress asked why Mr. Gadkari had become the spokesperson for the Bill.

In his letter seeking cooperation for passage of the Bill while offering to debate it on any platform, Mr. Gadkari pointed out that the Bill would facilitate acquisition of land for irrigation projects and wanted to know how assured supply of water for farming was anti-farmer.

He said land acquisition in the villages would take industrialisation to the villages and thereby create jobs. On the need for an ordinance, his answer was that it would not have been possible to pay landowners four times the market rate without it.

The Congress said the BJP and Mr. Gadkari were “hoodwinking and attempting diversionary tactics to dilute the agony, pain and outrage among the entire farming community” over the Modi government’s sinister attempt to kill the soul and spirit of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2014.

The Congress responded to Mr. Gadkari with a set of eight questions that included why the ordinance route was adopted and the Bill pushed through Lok Sabha despite nationwide protests. “Will PM Modi and Mr. Gadkari answer as to why did the BJP unanimously support the 2013 Bill inside and outside Parliament and why did they proceed to kill the same law within six months of coming to power even before it could be implemented.’’

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