Term of joint panel on land acquisition bill extended
New Delhi : The Joint Committee of Parliament examining the contentious land bill was today granted a fresh extension till the end of the first part of the Budget Session.
Committee chairman S S Ahluwalia moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha in this regard which was adopted by a voice vote.
Its term was extended earlier on November 30 by the Lok Sabha till today — the last day of the Winter session.
The resolution said: “That this House do extend time for presentation of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation amd Resettlement (2nd Amendment) Bill 2015 upto the last day of the first part of the Budget Session, 2016.”
The first part of the Budget Session usually ends in March and the second part begins in May.
The panel decided to seek more time at its meeting on December 16 as only a few states have tendered their responses on various clauses of the bill.
Ahluwalia had himself said the committee would seek a fresh extension after NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a member of the panel, pointed out that most of the states were yet to respond to the questionnaire sent to them by the committee.
When the committee’s term was extended on November 30, members from the Opposition, especially Congress, had contended that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself said that government will not repromulgate the land ordinance, which was based on the bill being examined by the Committee, there was no point in extending its term.
The ordinance had lapsed on August 31 after the government decided against issuing it for the fourth time.
At a recent meeting of the panel, Opposition members had demanded calling Modi as a witness, an idea which was strongly opposed by the ruling BJP and ally Shiv Sena.
Ahluwalia has been striving to submit a unanimous report. Giving up the ordinance route, the government had on August 28 issued a statutory order to include 13 central laws like National Highway and Railways Acts to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired under the land law.
The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 Acts from its purview with the condition that they would be brought within the ambit of the Act within one year. The NDA dispensation’s ordinance in December 2014 brought these 13 acts under the new land bill.
At the same time, it also made significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act 2013 including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas — industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
Facing stiff protests from Opposition as well as allies, the government decided not to press with the Ordinance for the fourth time and BJP members in the Parliamentary panel moved amendments seeking to restore the clauses of the earlier bill.