April 25, 2015, IPF Seminar Hall, New Delhi
Chair: Shri Virjesh Upadhyay, National General Secretary, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh
Speakers: Shri Mohini Mohan Mishra, Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Shri Gopal Agarwal, Economic Thinker, Shri N.K. Singh, Senior Journalist
India Policy foundation organised a panel discussion on ‘Law on Land Acquisition -- Then and Now’ at the IPF seminar hall on April 25, 2015 with eminent speakers expressing their views on the much vexed issue. The debate comes at a time when the multi-stake holding consultation is in progress, however, the government is being charged for not considering the real concerns of financially lowest strata of society.
National executive member of the BJP Shri Gopal Agarwal’s presentation gave full picture of the bill and also explained the contentious issue. He discussed about the changes that the government made to the objections raised by different stakeholders. He said, “Despite the good intention, the government was unable to put it across to the people.” Shri Agarwal explained about sect 21 and sect 24 and section 101 and some amendments that were made to the bill on objections raised by the people across. He also talked about creation of land Bank, job for the affected people and use of barren and arid land for the development projects.
National secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh Shri Mohini Mohan Mishra said that the present act is culmination of colonial mindset which still continues to exploit the landholders and benefit the economic actors in higher strata. The real development has not reached to villages, the Land Acquisition Bill forces farmers to surrender land but there are no protest since it is not sponsored by rich class. Who will take care of farmers, if there is no one to protest. The government is responsible for holistic view of all citizens. There is a need to understand that development must reach to villages as well but no indiscriminate land acquisition should take place in the country. Land cannot be increased; they are limited it must be utilised properly.
Shri Mishra said, “Farmers are not against development of industry but a proper land bank should be developed which does not have high fertility and their interest is taken care of.”
Speaking on the occasion senior journalist Shri N K Singh said that primarily there is no fault in the bill. This is the best possible option for the land acquisition but the government was unable to communicate with people. The government should have taken the help of all possible stakeholders like NGOs and think tanks to communicate that not only they will be compensated properly but jobs to a family members would also be offered. Shri Singh said that agriculture is not at all profit making enterprise so no one wants to remain a farmer and given the option, they are ready to give away their land.
On the other hand Shri Virjesh Upadhyay of Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh also talked about the interest of the farmer and saving land from acquisition. He said that Landless laborours that are working in the agriculture are not given proper importance in the Bill. The bill might be complete in itself but it definite fails to address issues related to aggrieve.
Initiating the debate Hon. Director of the foundation Prof Rakesh Sinha said that the bill has built a negative perception in lack of nation-wide debate which we began today. The different stakeholders of the bill are here to speak. It is being looked upon by the different political parties in terms of loss and gains while the issue is of the interest of poor farmers and labourers. IPF is submitting its report for wider discussion and consultation by the stakeholders in the country.