Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India Nitin Gadkari reiterated that the New Land Acquisition Bill-2015 is pro-farmers and pro-public-interest development Bill and should not be opposed.
As the chief orator at the programme organized by Bahurao Deoras Manav Sansodhan Vikas Ani Shodh Pratishtan, Nitin Gadkari said that this Bill has already been okayed by the Lok Sabha and is in the process of being okayed in Rajya Sabha too. A lot of discussions were held in both the houses.
Gadkari claimed that without knowing about the Bill and its content, people have already started criticizing the Bill and naming it as anti-farmers bill and anti-poor people’s Bill etc. People have assumed that the government will permit industrialists and private players to acquire land for their industries, colleges and other fancy installations for the rich and well to do.
So much so that the Former Chief Minister of Haryana had written to the Prime Minister to not agree to this bill, claimed Nitin Gadkari.
What is the Bill?
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on February 24, 2015 to replace an Ordinance. The following amendments were circulated by the government on March 9, 2015.
Gadkari claimed that the BJP Government has amended the Bill to exempt five categories. These five categories are:
(i) Defence Land and Defence Production. He said that for the nation’s security the Defence needs land for their troops, storage of missiles etc.
(ii) Rural infrastructure. This includes land for installation of Government installations like electricity transformers, pumps etc. Land required for erecting Government Schools and Government Hospitals.
(iii) Affordable housing. Gadkari claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a dream that by the year 2022, every Indian rich or poor should have own home. This will necessitate acquisition of land for making affordable houses for the poor.
(iv) Industrial corridors. The amendments clarify that land acquired for industrial corridors will be for industrial corridors set up by the government and government undertakings. Further, land can be acquired up to 1 km on both sides of the designated railway line or road of the industrial corridor. Depending on the agricultural produce of the area, industries should come up. This way, the farmers will get to sell their produce to an industries close-by, who in-turn can transport the goods to markets.
(v) Infrastructure and social infrastructure. The amendments remove social infrastructure which are in public interest as an exempted category.
Gadkari went on to explain how after getting land WCL opened three mines and soon they will be able to achieve their target of 25,000 Million tons. This also means that at least 50,000 of rural youth will get employment.
He claimed that unless industries, our youth will not get employed.
Gadkari claimed that the sixth amendment the rehabilitation and resettlement award for each affected family includes employment for at least one member of the family. Gadkari added that BJP government will not compromise on the resettlement or on the compensation.
Gadkari spoke of how the GDP of the country was 4.25 during the reign of UPA Government. Gadkari claimed that BJP intends to take the GDP to 8% through various developmental acts, bills and changes in our system. Gadkari claimed that the previous government had turned a blind eye to land that was acquired at throwaway prices and sold for crores of Rupees by some unscrupulous elements. Gadkari claimed that we need roads, land for irrigation projects, land for industries for development of the state. Unless we acquire land, how are all these developmental plans going to come through.
While ending his speech Gadkari claimed that since water is the life line of any state or country and as long as they cannot acquire land for irrigation projects how can agricultural growth grow beyond 4% in Maharashtra, and if it does not grow, how will farmers suicide stop.
He is confident that Rajya Sabha will also pass land acquisition Bill because they know that this Bill is important for farmers. Except for communists, who oppose the Bill since they are, by definition anti-growth, other parties who are progressive will certainly support the Bill.