Opposition Congress today slammed the BJP-led Gujarat government for watering down the Land Acquisition Act passed by UPA in 2013 and burnt copies of the amended Bill which was passed in the Legislative Assembly today.
The opposition party said it will oppose sending of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2016 to President and will challenge it before High Court even if President gives his assent.
The Bill was passed in the House on last day of Budget session in the absence of Congress MLAs, who were suspended yesterday by the Speaker for two days.
It has raised the hackles of Congress as the Bill has done away with the crucial Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for projects related to defence and social sectors.
The Congress MLAs gathered near Mahatma Gandhi statue outside the Assembly today and set ablaze the copies of the Bill, terming it as “anti-people”.
Before the protest, senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil announced in a press conference that his party will approach High Court if President approves it.
Gohil reasoned that the bill will be eventually sent to President for his assent, as it touches a Central Act.
He alleged Speaker Ganpat Vasava purposefully suspended Congress MLAs for two days to pave way for the BJP government to pass the Bill without any opposition.
“When Congress was in power, we used to make sure that opposition MLAs (BJP) do not get suspension for more than one day. But, this government has set aside all such traditions.
“We were purposefully suspended for two days yesterday, so that the controversial land bill gets cleared today without any trouble,” he said.
The Congress leader alleged the government wanted to “snatch” the rights of land-owners, which were taken into account while UPA government brought the Act in 2013.
“Though government claims that the Act can be modified as it is in the concurrent list, no amendment can be made which violates the principal Act. This Bill grossly violated many such provisions.
“We will approach the Governor for not sending the Bill to President for his assent. We will then meet the President and request him not to sign it. Even if it gets the assent, we will knock the doors of High Court to stop the Bill from becoming a law,” said Gohil.
He said the government brought this Bill only to benefit industrialists.
“The Bill itself stated that 80 per cent consent of landlords will not be necessary for land acquisition for industrial corridor. This means that land will be snatched from poor farmers and given to industrialists. This is totally against the spirit of the original Act,” Gohil added. PTI