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Don't play around with land acquisition Act passed by UPA: Gujarat's people's organisations to state government

By Our Representative
Several people's organisations of Gujarat have asked the Gujarat government to begin public discussion while drafting rules of the new Land Acquisition Act 2013, instead of confining the effort to draft it by a small section. Pointing out that after “many efforts and long deliberations” the previous UPA government passed the Right to Fair Compensation & Transparency in Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 to rectify the past wrongs to farmers, in a statement they have expressed the fear that Act may not be implemented in Gujarat at all.
“Land is as such not the purview of the Centre; it falls in the concurrent list and hence the Act mandates the respective states to formulate the rules keeping the overarching rationale of the Act in mind”, the people's organisations have said in their joint statement, adding, “The Act, which had to be enforced from January 1, 2014, has not yet come into force in Gujarat. The Government of Gujarat has put a draft of the rules for discussion to its inner circle. Many a clause of the draft rules read like an expounding on principles; several clauses of the draft are openly in defiance of the spirit of the Act.”
The statement says, “If the draft comes into force as is, injustice to farmers will continue. Gujarat has witnessed many farmers’ agitations against land acquisitions as per the old Act and under the provisions of the SIR Act 2009. At the cost of their own agriculture, the farmer had led many successful agitations.” Asking the Government of India “to circulate the draft for public consultations, discussion and suggestions”, it adds, “Debating them before finalising them may lead to better framing of rules and better relations between government, industry and farmers.”
Warning that the government might become a “victim of people’s wrath if it implements the rules without farmers’ consent”, the statement says, “Farmers affected by price rise and low minimum support price (MSP) of farm produce and injustice by the government in land acquisition are not ready to bear any more injustice” and the “farmers will fight it out.”
Signatories include veteran Gandhian Chunibhai Vaidya, former Congress minister Sanat Mehta, well-known advocate of the Gujarat High Court Girish Patel, senior activist Achyut Yagnik, Indukumar Jani of the Gujarat Khet Vikas Parishad, Rajnibhai Dave of the Gujarat Sarvodaya Mandal, Hasmukh Patel of the Shramik Seva Sanstha, Persis Ginwalla of the Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat, Sagar Rabari and Jayesh Patel of the Khedut Samaj Gujarat, Krishnakant, Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai and Rohit Prajapati of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, and Shankarbhai Mansa of the Adivasi Vikas Manch, Virampur.

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