Land Bill introduced in LS amid protests from BJD, other parties

New Delhi: The controversial land acquisition bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha today amid strong protests by the Opposition including BJD which termed the measure ‘anti-farmer’, as members of Congress and some other parties staged a walkout.

The government tabled the bill after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected the contention of parties like Congress, TMC, BJD, the Left and others, that a similar measure was “pending” in the Rajya Sabha.

“There is no rule which bars introduction of a bill, while a bill on the same subject passed by the Lok Sabha is pending in the Rajya Sabha,” Mahajan said in her ruling, amid stiff opposition to its introduction.

The Speaker also said “there is no bill identical to the one being proposed that is pending” and put the introduction of the bill for voting of the House.

Before the voting, agitated Congress members along with those from TMC, AAP and Left parties, led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, staged a walk-out. Some of the slogan-shouting members were also seen displaying placards against the bill.

After the voting, the ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Second Bill, 2015’ was introduced by Rural Development Minister Birender Singh.

The government has promulgated the land acquisition ordinance twice so far, as the bill to replace the first ordinance was not passed by Parliament.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the Speaker has discretion but those powers should be used “judiciously” and urged her not to allow the introduction of the bill.

He alleged that the government was serving the interests of capitalists and corporates and said the Bill was not in the interests of farmers.

Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Paksha party, which is an ally of the NDA government, also opposed the Bill claiming the consent clause has been diluted.

Amid the ruckus, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government was not going to pass the Bill today but was only introducing it. His remark that it was “a pro-farmer legislation” elicited strong protests from the Opposition benches.

Naidu said if the Opposition went on “making political comments and criticise, the government cannot sit watching, he said. What is bull dozing… we (government) want to take the majority view. We have made some suggestions (in the Bill).”

In between, Mahajan tried to pacify the protesting members and said she would not be able to listen if they kept on shouting. But as the noisy protests continued, she put the motion for introducing the bill to vote.