Progress, they say, comes at a cost, but with the passage of the Gujarat Land Acqiusition Bill, the question is, who’s paying?
The Gujarat Assembly had passed the LARR (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2016, on March 31. It required President’s approval as the bill sought an amendment to the central Act. The President has given his assent to Gujarat’s version of the controversial land acquisition bill on August 8. Now the Act is identical to the Modi government’s version of land acquisition bill and the ordinance, which lapsed in Parliament due to huge protest from farmers-peasants and opposition parties.
You’d have thought that the Congress party would have taken it up in the Gujarat Assembly since the bill doesn’t have the requirement that 80 per cent consent be procured (this was considered a safeguard for the rights of farmers with smaller landholdings). It’s also done away with the social impact assessment clause. However, there hasn’t been a cheep of opposition from Congress on these issues.
Reportedly, the state government will implement the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2016, from August 15. “Since it has been approved by the President, we are prepared to implement it from the Independence Day,” revenue minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told media persons in Gandhinagar. “The new act will help in attracting investments in industrial and infrastructure projects in the state.”
Try telling that to Persis Ginawala of the Jameen Adhikar Andolan-Gujarat (JAAG). Gina told Newslaundry, “Gujarat government has failed farmers of the state. President shouldn’t have given his assent to the Bill.” She added that now that the Bill has taken the shape of an Act, JAAG will try to bring together farmers across the state to give shape to a consolidated movement against it.