Govt seeks consensus on land reforms bill

Govt seeks consensus on land reforms bill

Ramesh on a mission to placate civil society members

According to sources, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh is working on the issue to reach a consensus between civil society and the government.

The government’s worry is palpable in the manner in whi­ch the rural development minister has been trying to reach out to civil society members in th­is regard. According to so­urces, Ramesh has already held several meetings with civil society members. He has also met Gandhian and prominent Team Anna member P V Rajgopal, who is going to launch his yatra on October 2 from Kanyakumari, demanding wide ranging land reforms.

Ramesh is also scheduled to meet him this week to have a comprehensive discussion on the issue before the yatra. Confirming his meetings with Ramesh, Rajgopal told Deccan Herald, “We are to submit an elaborate paper to him. Further discussions will centre on this draft.”

This meeting is likely to be attended by some land experts including former bureaucrat K B Saxena.

The government is not only worried over statements made by Anna Hazare and his team that electoral reforms and land reforms are next on their agenda, but also on its announcem­ents of agitation programmes against Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011.

The Bill is supposed to be the most problematic of all beca­u­se it is facing stiff opposition ever since it was tabled in the last session of Parliament.

Most of the stake holders seem to be unhappy with the Bill. Medha Patkar-led National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) has announced nationwide programme of protest rallies in November.

“Not a single stretch of agriculture should be acquired to set up industries,” says Patkar.
“We are not happy with the 80:20 land acquisition ratio. We think that unless absolutely necessary, land should not be acquired,” she says.

“Irrigated land is a long term investment for food security and employment. It should not be taken up at any cost,” she adds.

Civil society members are insisting that no land should be acquired without the approval of Gram Sabha. Anna Hazare has also stressed this point in his latest communication to the prime minister.

The civil society is also opposed to the proposal of land bank.

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