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President gives nod to re-promulgation of land ordinance

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday re-promulgated for the third time the Land Ordinance that prescribes processes for acquisition of land for public projects, official sources told The Hindu.

His assent came before he left for an official tour to Sweden and Belarus.

Despite Opposition protests, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday recommended to the President the re-issuance of the ordinance on the ground that it was necessary for maintaining continuity and providing a framework to compensate people whose land had been acquired.

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the ordinance be kept in abeyance till the panel submits its report and Parliament takes a position on the amended Bill.

Referring to Mr. Modi’s recent statement that the Land Bill was not a matter of “life and death’’ for him, the party said the ordinance need not be pressed.

While an ordinance is valid for six months, it has to be endorsed by Parliament within six weeks of the first sitting. However, due to stiff resistance from Opposition parties to certain provisions, the earlier land ordinance promulgated during the break in the budget session — after proroguing the Rajya Sabha — was not taken up at all in the second half of the session. It lapses on June 3.

Instead the joint Parliamentary Committee comprising members from both the Houses was set up to scrutinise the Bill.

Decrying the “amazing hurry’’ of Mr. Modi to “grab land from farmers”, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi vowed to continue the fight for the rights of the farmers.

“Modi ji in an amazing hurry to grab land from poor farmers at any cost. A 3rd attempt at pushing the anti farmer Land Ordinance’’, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had tweeted after the Cabinet decision.

Warns of protests

Warning of wide-spread protests, the All-India Kisan Sabha asked the government to treat the ordinance as “null and void’’ till the parliamentary committee completes its procedure and Parliament takes a view.

It also urged the committee to extend the time limit for interested parties to submit their views on the amended Bill.

The government had moved nine amendments to the UPA’s Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The amendments related to exemption of five types of projects from certain provisions of the Act, quantum of compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement, return of unutilised land, redress mechanism, and provision of employment to a member of the family of farm labourer displaced.

However, the proposed Bill does not include the two crucial provisions for taking consent of the land owner and the Social Impact Assessment of displacement. These have become the bone of contention between the government and Opposition parties particularly the Congress, the Left, the Trinamool Congress and the Janata Dal (United).

BJP’s ally, including the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena, have also raised questions.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar criticised the government for wanting to “snatch’’ the rights of farmers.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 3:33:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/president-gives-nod-to-repromulgation-of-land-ordinance/article7267398.ece

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