Skip to main content

Congress belies apprehensions, asks Gujarat governor not to sign "pro-corporate" land acquisition Bill

Bharatsinh Solanki
By Our Representative
One day after Gujarat's upcoming farmers' organization, Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), accused the Congress of adopting a lackadaisical attitude towards new land laws being brought by the state BJP rulers for favouring industrialists, the state Congress leadership has asked the the Gujarat Governor not to sign the controversial Gujarat Agricultural Land Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2015, calling it anti-weaker sections.
Signed by three senior leaders, state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela, and ex-Leader of Opposition Arjun Modhwadia, a memorandum submitted to the governor said the bill was passed with majority vote after suspending the entire opposition from the assembly on August 28, 2015.
Giving a detailed explanation on the implications of the amendment – which JAAG failed to do – the memorandum said, the Gujarat Agricultural Land Ceiling Act was enacted in 1960 with the aim of acquiring surplus agricultural land from landlords, allotting it to agricultural cooperative societies, especially those that were formed with members of weaker sections of society, especially landless labourers and farmers with small land holdings.
Suggesting that with the new amendment the surplus land is sought to be handed over to the industrialists at a very cheap rate, as it was found not being used, the memorandum said, “The main purpose of this Act was to allot surplus such land to the needy people like cattle breeder, landless persons, farm labourers and small land holders, and forming their cooperative societies.”
Pointing out that taking advantage of a recent judgment of Supreme Court judgment, the government “received” all this land, which had been lying idle and which was already a wasteland, being utilized for grazing purposes, the memorandum said, it would have been better had the land been “given to landless persons, farm laborers and farmers' families with small land holding in Gujarat.”
Accused the BJP rulers of eying this land “with corrupt and greedy intention”, the memorandum said, it was with this intention that the amendment to the 1960 Act was brought in. By bringing the amendment, the government has decided to hand over “land to industrialists and the rich, instead of the eligible needy classes”, it said.
The memorandum explains, the amendment asserts the following words – "or for the allotment for industrial purpose or for the development thereof or for any public purpose" – after the wordings "for ensuing the full and efficient use” of land. It comments, “With this amendment, the concept behind the provisions made in original Act, has been changed.”
The memorandum says, “This amendment reflects the changed mentality of the government. The earlier governments were for emancipation of weaker-backward classes of society. However, the present government wants to make industrialists and rich richer. It will no more mandatory for the government to allot the land acquired from farmers under the Land Ceiling Act to the landless.”
It adds, “It can now allot it to big industrialists and rich people to enhance industrial facilities in the name of development. Thus, the land acquired through the Act made for abolishing big landlords will be used to create new industrialists' and builders' landlords.”
Citing the clauses which have been changes, the memorandum says, the amendment also allows any urban local body to acquire land for public purpose if the land is situated within the areas of such local body. By adding this provision, it can convert any land for urban development without any hurdle, the memorandum says, pointing out, even here it clear that the land will not be allocated to the landless.
There is a scope created for big manipulation with this amendment, the memorandum says, adding, with this amendment it will no more be necessary for industrialists to pay premium for converting land from new tenure (land acquired under land reforms) to old tenure (having the the provision of pre-land reforms period).
“New tenure land is converted to old tenure land only after the payment of premium prescribed by the government. Instead of that, builders-industrialists would be able to be able to acquire new tenure land worth crores without paying any premium”, the memorandum says.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.