Facing opposition flak for supporting Centre’s controversial Land bill in the Lok Sabha, ruling AIADMK on Sunday denied that the legislation was against the welfare of people and insisted that party chief Jayalalithaa will not back any move which is inimical to people’s interests.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam reiterated Jayalalithaa’s statement that the party had supported the Narendra Modi government’s land bill only after its suggested amendments against land acquisition for private hospitals and colleges were accepted by the union government.
Intervening when K Balakrishnan (CPI-M) raised the issue in the state assembly, the chief minister said the previous UPA’s Land Acquisition act ‘interfered’ with states’ rights and that his party had mentioned it in Rajya Sabha while opposing it in 2013.
He said the then congress government could have done away with the British era act and allowed states to formulate land acts.
However, the UPA had enacted the 2013 act under the advice of the then ‘very powerful’ national advisory committee under Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he said.
Though it seemed like it was a pro-farmer move, the provisions were like offering it with one hand and taking away using the other, he said.
Panneerselvam said 13 central acts were exempted from the provisions of the 2013 act and asked why congress and those who supported it did so.
It was under such provision that laying of gas pipelines was taken up by GAIL in seven districts of the state which affected farmers, he said.
The project was taken up under The Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 which was one of the exempted central legislations.
“That being, claiming that the (2013) act was pro-farmer and the latest amendments (by NDA) are against them amounts to misleading people. Those who supported it then and opposing now should explain,” he said.