Bhubaneswar, April 6:
While alleging a secret deal between the Biju Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress party on Monday urged the BJD to not support the proposed land acquisition (amendment) bill in the Rajya Sabha.
“I appeal to the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) not to support the land bill to be introduced in Rajya Sabha,” Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told mediapersons here.
“If the BJD believes in farmers, tribals and democracy, it must oppose the amendments in the bill, which is against the farmers and democracy.”
He said the bill will not get past the Rajya Sabha hurdle as his Congress party along with several others, including the ruling BJP’s allies, are opposing the changes to the bill proposed by the union government.
Ramesh also said that the BJP and BJD were two sides of the same coin and alleged that a secret pact between the two parties was now an open secret. He also said that there may be a deal between the two parties to bail out each other.
“There may be a deal that BJD will give its support to land and mining bills and BJP will protect the regional party in the chit fund issue,” he said, adding that his party was not depending on the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD to defeat the land acquisition bill in the Rajya Sabha.
“But here is an opportunity for him to stand up to support the anti-farmer and anti-democracy legislation. The chief minister, who is claiming to be working for farmers, must show his commitment,” said Ramesh.
“I request the Odisha chief minister to wake up and see what is happening. His friend Narendra Modi is destroying the Forest Rights Act, which is fundamental to the welfare of the tribals in the state,” he said.
Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘Duryodhana’ of Mahabharata for refusing to give land to farmers, who, according to the Congress leader, are ‘Pandavas’, Ramesh mentioned five major reasons for his party’s opposition to the amendments.
He also said that the Modi government was anti-farmer and pro-private companies in the matter of land acquisition.
The Congress leader said the amendments proposed in the land bill would do away with clauses in the 2013 Act such as consent of 80 percent of farmers, Social Impact Assessment and payment of compensation with retrospective effect in case of the farmers who did not accept it as per the 1894 Act.
He said the party was also opposed to removal of the clause which stipulates that the land acquired from the farmers would go back to them if it was not utilised for the intended purpose within five years, and giving rights to the government to acquire land up to one kilometre on either side of industrial corridors for handing it over to private developers.
The Congress leader said his party wants the amendments to be rolled back by the Centre in the interest of farmers.