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NCP chief Sharad Pawar brings anti-land bill parties together

NCP chief Sharad Pawar organised a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with Congress, Left parties, Shiv Sena and some other parties.

Updated: Jul 29, 2015, 03.50 AM IST
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NCP chief Sharad Pawar organised a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with Congress, Left parties, Shiv Sena and some other parties.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar organised a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with Congress, Left parties, Shiv Sena and some other parties.
NEW DELHI: Passage of the controversial land acquisition bill, undergoing joint committee processing, faces fresh hurdles with the Opposition making a fresh bid to work out a unified strategy to block it from becoming a law.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar organised a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with Congress, Left parties, Shiv Sena and some other parties to discuss the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015. Though SAD, SP and JD(U) did not attend the meeting, sources said they have conveyed their opposition to the proposed legislation in its present form. Pawar’s residence was chosen as most parties felt it would serve as ‘neutral ground,’ sources said.

The parties are in agreement that the consent clause and social impact assessment clauses should be retained, the industrial corridor of one km should be done away with and family member of acquiree given stake in the development project.

They also want job to be given to a family member if land is acquired and a higher compensation. Among the notables, BJP ally Shiv Sena — which sent Anandrao Adsul, MP, to represent the party — voiced concern over the land bill in its present form and said it would oppose any move to pass it. Shiv Sena had walked out of the Lok Sabha when the bill was put to vote.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar brings anti-land bill parties together

SAD is another ally that has promised to oppose the bill, although its representative was not present at the meeting in Pawar’s house.

“SAD is concerned as its supporters in Punjab are mostly land owners and big farmers who would not like to part with their fertile agricultural land. Moreover, the party is worried about the impact this bill will have in the assembly elections in 2017,” sources said. SAD has submitted its disagreements to the bill.

According to a Left leader, though SP and JD(U) did not attend the meeting they send word that they were against the bill. Those who attended the meeting include Mohammad Salim (CPM), Jairam Ramesh and Digvijaya Singh (both Congress).

Parliament’s joint committee processing the bill had met on Monday and will meet again on Thursday.

Sources said that most of the work of examining officials from various ministries involved in some way with the issue has been completed. Clause by clause discussion will take place in the next meeting and the chairperson of the committee will be authorised to prepare a final report. Those in disagreement will submit dissent notes before the committee submits its report to Parliament. The whole process is likely to take two more meetings.

BJP sources, meanwhile, maintained that the ruling party is also not in a hurry to pass the land bill as the issue can cost it the Bihar assembly elections due for October.

The government would also like to keep the bill pending and not flex its muscles through a joint session, a source said.

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