The Modi Government has shown its anti-poor and anti-farmer face by severely diluting the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 that ensured not only compensation and rehabilitation of the affected families but was an effective prevention against forcible acquisition of land.
By the means of this Act, the UPA Government had bestowed the rights on the farmers to decide whether they want to sell their land or not. To be honest, BJP was very much a party to this landmark legislation. Now, with this amendment ordinance, that right has been snatched from the hands of the farmers and they have been left at the mercy of the industrial houses. The Act required the consent of 80% of the affected families if land is to be acquired for private use and 70% in the case of public private partnership (PPP) projects.
It also required the mandatory social impact assessment (SIA) before acquisition of farming land. By diluting the consent clause and the social impact assessment clause including the application of the Food Security Act, which were the crux of the law, the NDA Government has made the Act toothless and completely ineffective. The NDA Government is clearing the path for corporate houses for forcibly acquiring land from poor farmers irrespective of their socio-economic and livelihood implications.
The Government has made it clear that the consent of poor to forgo their livelihood has no meaning on the face of interests of the industrialists. What was the need to change the provision to acquire multi cropped irrigated land for industry purposes? Is it the only way to move forward on reform?
Does the Government have become so arrogant that it has no respect for lives and livelihood of millions of farmers and their rights over their land? What was the necessity to give irreversible rights to the industrialists over the acquired land even if the same are not used after five years of acquisition? Why this clause was also removed? Who will answer these questions?