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Congress slams 'anti-farmer' ordinance
Wednesday December 31, 2014 9:40 PM, IANS

Describing the ordinance as "anti-farmer", the Congress Wednesday strongly condemned the temporary legislation approved by the Cabinet to amend the Land Acquisition Act.

"It (the ordinance) has neither the soul, nor the essence or the substance. This is very serious. We condemn it; unequivocally criticise it," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the media here.

Coining a new acronym FAIL - to describe the current government, Singhvi said the government failed on all accounts. FAIL where 'F' is for Anti-farmer, 'A' for Anti-accountability, 'I' for intolerant and divisive regime, and 'L' for land acquisition.

Referring to the current dispensation at the Centre as "the government of ordinance", the Congress accused it of bypassing accountability as it did not consult parliament, which was in session until a week ago, on a critical matter that the party spokesperson said may benefit rich land owners and affect farmers who do not own the land they cultivate.

"Ordinance bypasses parliament, so it bypasses accountability. It negates both parliament and democracy by going the ordinance route," Singhvi said.

He said the ordinance would weaken the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act - passed by the Congress-led UPA in 2013 - for its basic tenets that stand diluted now.

The ordinance removes the consent clause and the social impact assessment that were incorporated in the 2013 act as a crucial provision to improve the archaic Land Acquisition Act of 1894.

"No need to take the farmer's consent anymore. It has been removed by coercion and there is now no need to prove public purpose in land acquisition. It's unfortunate and anti-farmer," he said.

A perplexed Singhvi questioned the urgency of passing this ordinance, especially when the original act was duly discussed in parliament and was approved by the BJP that sat in the opposition at that time.

"If they supported the act a year and a half ago, what was the hurry to change it now? It's a spectacular U-turn as what you (BJP) support, you oppose later," the Congress leader said.


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