Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare began his two-day protest against Land Acquisition ordinance at Jantar Mantar, on the day the Budget Session of the Parliament commenced. Modi Government has faced high criticism from Hazare for making certain changes in the Land Acquisition Act through an ordinance. On December 29 last year, the government had recommended promulgation of an ordinance making significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas of industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence. However, after coming to power, they changed their stand. The BJP government’s ordinance to amend the land acquisition Act does not merely increase the list of projects that would be exempted from requirements of consent and Social Impact Assessment but also quietly makes other provisions in the law less stringent. It dilutes the requirement that unused acquired land be returned to the original owners, makes it tougher to prosecute defaulting civil servants, reduces the scope of the retrospective clause and expands the definition of permissible infrastructure.
Although the BJP is struggling to build a political harmony and support for its controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance, pressure is slowly building from various groups who are planning a massive agitation against the law. Anna Hazare is against Congress, BJP and he can even go against AAP. Where does he want to take India? Anna Hazare’s vision for our country is yet to be understood, but we need such revolutionaries who can dare ruling governments by controlling their anti-people behaviour. Many media people believe that Anna is a person whose knowledge in politics is limited; whoever brainwashes him first, he listens to them. His understanding on trivial issues is also limited but the good and important part is that he has capacity to challenge the powerful and in a democracy, such people are always needed to watch over the functioning of the government.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, was brought in last year by the previous UPA government and was criticised by the industry for making land acquisition a more tedious task. Kick-starting a new edition of his anti-corruption campaign, Hazare challenged Modi government over the Land Acquisition Bill and addressed a daylong rally of disgruntled farmers opposing the bill at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Our PM is always seen busy in meetings, conferences and summits. However, he has no time for farmers. Farmers are the ones who produce the basic necessity of life i.e. food for living beings. PM has shown his haste to pass the Land Ordinance but he has not taken any initiative for the farmers, yet. Does PM Modi and his ministers have guts to face farmers and common man on this Ordinance? Let him take decisions for Civil Nuclear pact and we trust him to do the best. However, the Ordinance that will affect the common man directly should not be touched. Modi has abused his power by disrespecting farmers and Jawans.
Hazare has been criticising the Modi government with mounting intensity in the last few days, even likening it to the “British Raj” in a blog post. He has severely castigated the hastily passed ordinance on the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 Bill as a gesture that smacks of an anti-farmer agenda, while being partial to the corporate lobby. Hazare, who fiercely distances himself from political parties, had also skipped Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony when the latter became the Delhi chief minister for the first time in December 2013.
The government was tending towards introducing the ordinance without major changes. Hazare held the protest to demand the withdrawal of the anti-farmer amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. India against Corruption has closed its office and Anna is starting another against Land Ordinance! Why can’t the elected MPs debate and discuss the issue in Parliament instead of inviting street agitation? Anyway, if the government doesn’t take the ordinance back, then the people will continue with agitation. The activists will make the farmers aware of the amendments. There is a chance that farmers from across the country will gather at the Ramlila Maidan in the next three-four months. BJP government’s policy is to make rich industrialists much richer and poor farmers to lose their lands and become poorer. This type of policy should not be implemented here after. If the BJP is connected with the ground level then they would have drafted the Ordinance which has not brought so much protest. I hope, after this the BJP will learn a lesson and will be able to provide good governance and famers will get justice.
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