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Sonia Gandhi slams Modi govt on land bill

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By EMN Updated: Mar 27, 2015 10:42 pm
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PTI
NEW DELHI, MARCH 27

Rejecting the dialogue offer on the controversial land bill, Sonia Gandhi today alleged it was a mockery of the consensus building exercise by a “myopic” Modi government which was “bending backwards” to favour industrialists and demanded that UPA’s legislation be brought back in totality.“Proposition of a post-facto debate after unilateral imposition of anti-farmer law is mockery of building partisan consesus,” the Congress president said replying in a strongly worded letter to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Chiding the government for painting those opposing its land bill as anti-nationals, Gandhi asked the government to “rise above its narrow-minded politics.”
Hailing farmers as the “backbone” of the country, Gandhi said Congress cannot support any law which hurts farmers, and asked the Modi dispensation to bring back UPA’s land bill in totality.
Gandhi said it was regrettable that anyone championing the cause of distresed farmers and needy farm labourers was being branded as “anti-national” by a “myopic Modi government bending backwards to favour select industrialists.”
She said the fundamental difference between the Congress and the BJP is in understanding farmer’s distress and loss of livelihood by acquisition of land without safeguards.
Being pro-farmer does not mean anti-growth, she said.
Last week, Gadkari had written to Sonia Gandhi, leaders of other opposition parties and social activist Anna Hazare inviting them to an open debate on the issue while asserting that the bill was “very much in farmers’ interest.”
Faced with stiff opposition on the land bill, the government had reached out to leaders of opposition parties, with Union transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari telling them that the government was willing to debate all aspects of the bill which is awaiting clearance in the Rajya Sabha. Posing a number of questions over the intentions of the government behind bringing the land ordinance, Gandhi said that there are “fundamental differences” in the approach of Congress and BJP to the cause of farmers.
She said that while the 2013 law stipulated that the Social impact Assessment (SIA) of any land to be acquired had to be completed within six months, the NDA government has “completely done away with this requirement” and wondered “is this in the interest of farmers?
“The 2013 law required that 80 per cent of the farmers give consent in acquisition for private companies and 70 per cent for PPP projects. But you have done away with this consent requirement altogether except for a few insignificant cases. Is this in the interest of farmers?

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By EMN Updated: Mar 27, 2015 10:42:58 pm