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Sharad Pawar slams land bill, backs nuclear plant

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday reiterated his party’s opposition to the proposed Land Acquisition Bill and said that it would continue to oppose it in Parliament. At the same time, he also criticised Shiv Sena for opposing the Jaitapur nuclear power project.

Mr Pawar was in Ratnagiri on Saturday to attend a function. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, the NCP chief said that his party would not allow the passage of the Land Acquisition Bill in its present form, as it gives the government power to “snatch farmers’ land” without their consent.

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“The land acquisition law passed during the UPA’s regime had a provision about farmers’ consent while acquiring their land. But, the NDA government has removed that provision. Secondly, the provision related to Social Impact Assessment has been removed. And we had made a provision that laid down that if nothing is done in five years after the acquisition has been made, the land has to be returned. That too has been removed. The government has said that it would take all parties into confidence over this bill, but we do not agree to these provisions and we will tell the government about it during the discussion in Parliament. Considering our reservations on this, we will not be able to support the bill,” Mr Pawar said.

The NCP chief voiced his supported the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district. BJP’s alliance partner Shiv Sena has been opposing the project. Mr Pawar expressed doubts over seriousness of Shiv Sena’s stand. The veteran leader said that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party should quit the government if it is serious on the Jaitapur issue.

“The project should be implemented while taking due care that the locals do not face any health risk. This can be done by using the latest technology for implementing the project,” Mr Pawar said. Taking a dig at the Sena, he said, “I am sure Shiv Sena will leave the government soon over the Jaitapur issue.”

The Sena has been saying that the project poses a threat to the local environment and population, and had organised numerous protests against it.


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