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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

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.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.

Story of a foot soldier of Gujarat riots coming from a vulnerable community, Chharas

By Rajiv Shah
He is one of the more prominent "foot soldiers" of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Suresh Jadeja, alias Langdo, alias Richard, is indeed a well-known name in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons were killed on February 28, 2002, the first day of the riots that shook the nation. Ordinarily, such a person should have been subjected to sociological scrutiny. What have here is a keen journalistic account, with clear political-ideological overtone.