Bhubaneswar: The BJD joined the Opposition as they walked out to registered their protest over the controversial Land Acquisition Bill, which was introduced by the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha today.
The stand of the party, which described the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 as " anti-people", reflects the concerns of the Naveen Patnaik government that is worried about the slow progress of some crucial industrial projects following protests over land acquisition.
"We objected to the bill as it has done away with the 80 per cent consent clause and also the provision for social impact assessment that were integral part of land acquisition act passed during the UPA regime. We walked out because the government did not respond to our objections," said BJD leader in the Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab.
Mahtab said the BJD, which had framed rules to take over land following the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, brought by the UPA, had also opposed the ordinance promulgated last December by the NDA government to amend that piece of legislation to suit its ends.
"We had opposed it as it was certain to hit the vulnerable sections hard. We are now protesting against their bid to get a bill passed on the same lines," he said.
The BJD's main objection to the Bill pertains to the disputed clause that seeks to do away with the mandatory requirement of consent of 80 per cent of land losers, as contained in the 2013 Act, for acquiring land for government or private companies.
The issue is crucial to a state such as Odisha where the pace of industrialisation has been hit by protests over land acquisition related issues. While Posco's steel project continues to be in a limbo, ArcelorMittal was forced to scrap its proposed 12 million tonne per annum venture in Keonjhar district in 2013 after failing to acquire land.
However, president of Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ramesh Mohapatra said that waiving off the consent clause would help accelerate projects that have been hanging fire.
On the other hand, civil society activist, Prafulla Samantara described the move as anti-people. "This is anti-poor and aimed at pushing the corporate agenda," he said.