O Panneerselvam, Tamilnadu CM
CHENNAI: Chief Minister O Panneerselvam justified the AIADMK’s support to the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill introduced by the BJP government, while terming the previous bill by the UPA government as anti-farmer, in the Assembly Session on Monday.
The Chief Minister said that while the UPA’s bill provided exemption for as many as 13 Central Acts, the present BJP government’s amendment to it does not provide any such blanket exemptions.
The present bill was only providing powers to decide on granting exemptions from the aspects of social impact and food security to the concerned government and a State government could decide on allowing a project taking into consideration the welfare of the farmers, he said.
Replying to a question from CPM member Balakrishnan in the Assembly on AIADMK’s support to the Bill, Panneerselvam said it was a deception to say that the Congress government’s Land Acquisition Act gave protection to farmers.
The rights given to the farmers was taken away by the exemptions under 13 Central laws, he explained. Under the above-mentioned laws, only the sections for compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement of the Land Acquisition Bill were applicable, he pointed out. “If the 2013 bill was passed for farmers welfare, why is it not applicable when land was acquired under 13 Central acts. Will farmers not be affected if land was acquired under these 13 Central acts?”
Citing an example how farmers were affected due to the exemptions in the UPA government’s act, the Chief Minister said GAIL attempted to lay gas pipelines through agricultural land in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri under The Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, one of the 13 Central acts.
When the AIADMK government under Jayalalithaa ordered that the pipelines should be laid along the national highways, GAIL approached the Supreme Court and got a favorable verdict for it. A special leave petition was filed and the case had been transferred to the NGT, he said.
Those who supported the previous act and who are opposing the present one should explain their position. The present bill only provided powers for exemption from social impact and food security aspects for schemes coming under national security, rural infrastructure, housing for the poor, industrial way and infrastructure, he explained.
Moreover, concessions given to private educational institutions and hospitals in the bill were withdrawn following the request of the AIADMK and hence the party supported the Bill, he said, adding, “As far as AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was concerned, she would support anything beneficial to the State and its people and oppose anything which is against Tamil Nadu.”