Kiran Choudhry urges Murmu to withhold nod to Bill that seeks to speed land acquisition
Senior Congress leader Kiran Choudhry on Tuesday urged President Droupadi Murmu to withhold her assent to ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2021’. The Governor had referred the Bill for Presidential assent in December last year.
In a letter to the President, Choudhry, who represents Tosham in Haryana Assembly, termed the Bill as “ipso-facto a colorable, unconstitutional and perverse legislation wholly repugnant to the principal central Act” in letter and spirit.
“The present memorandum is a prayer for fair play for farmers, tenants, artisans and labourers whose sole means of subsistence and livelihood is dependent on agricultural land. While we accept the imperative need for acquisition of land by the state for infrastructure projects for rapid development, this has to be through a humane, transparent and fair process adequate compensation /resettlement/rehabilitation of all the affected persons. The Haryana Amendment Bill seeks to disturb this tenuous equilibrium enshrined in the benign central principal Act,” Choudhry said.
Choudhry further said, “The provisions 2 and 3 of the Bill seek to exempt multi-cropped irrigated agricultural lands from bar to acquisition, not only for Government projects, but also private sector under the guise of Public Private Partnership by seeking to insert 10A after Section 10 of the principal Act. These provisions have the effect of waiving off the statutory safeguards of either seeking consent of 70 per cent of affected stakeholders (as envisaged under Section 2 of the principal Act), or of doing Social Impact Assessment of such projects, which is in complete contravention of the basic spirit of the central principal Act. The sole purpose of this proposed amendment seems to be to throw lush and prime agriculture land open to acquisition by big corporate players, waiving the safeguards in the benign principal Act. Section 10A sought to be inserted in the principal Act vide the above mentioned Bill, further provides for exempting such acquisition of land from the operation of Chapter Il and Ill of the principal Act, making this Section absurd, self-nugatory and a nullity”.
“Provision 4 of the Bill is wholly against the principles of natural justice and fair play, as it seeks to arm the Collector with the draconian powers of announcing award for acquisition without a spot visit or an inquiry in case such acquisition is with the consent of persons interested in land,” she added.
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