Other States

Gujarat land Bills cleared by President

Ram Nath Kovind. File

Ram Nath Kovind. File  

President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to two land amendment Bills in Gujarat that proposes to allot surplus agriculture land, meant for landless farmers, to industries and civic bodies.

The two bills are the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Gujarat Congress had opposed the legislations, alleging that surplus agriculture land acquired during land reform days in 1960s that are meant for landless and marginal farmers will be handed over to industrialists.

The Bill first introduced in 2015 under the then BJP chief minister Anandiben Patel was returned by the Centre twice, on grounds that it deviated from the original 1960 Act and would affect agricultural production.

In its replym the Gujarat government had told the Centre that surplus land will be allotted to industries only in return for land somewhere else, thereby not affecting the land bank.

According to the Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, 1960 there is a cap on holding agricultural land and the Act empowers the State government to acquire surplus land and allot it to landless farmers.

"The State assembly had unanimously passed amendments to the Bill, but it was pending with the Centre for over two years. After the necessary changes were made by the State government in the legislation, it was sent to the President for assent," said a senior home ministry official.

Gujarat government had told the Centre that some of the acquired surplus land was not viable for farming. It also said that the civic bodies will be asked to use the land to construct schools or other public amenities.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 6:48:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-land-bills-cleared-by-president/article24823436.ece

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