Land bill linked to elections: BSP, SP

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 04, 2013 13:30 hrs

New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party Wednesday accused the UPA of rushing through the land acquisition bill with an eye on upcoming elections.

But BSP leader Mayawati said in the Rajya Sabha that her party nevertheless supported the bill which seeks to provide more compensation to farmers whose land is taken over for infrastructure development.

She said suggestions made by her party earlier for amending the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 were ignored. "Now with elections nearing, the bill is being rushed through without much thought."

Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav too accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance of bringing the bill in a hurry with an eye on coming elections.

He admitted that the bill had "good points" but insisted it had negatives too.

According to Yadav, the percentage of farm land in India was shrinking due to land acquisition.

He said the government, instead of acquiring agricultural land, should earmark infertile fallow land for infrastructure projects or increase land for agriculture by treating infertile land.

Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, said the most affected by land takeover were small farmers and tribals and the government should do something to rehabilitate and resettle them.

She said farmers get upset to see their acquired land lying unused for years and then finally being given to some builder or for some commercial purpose.

"The most affected are small farmers and adivasis when their source of livelihood (land) has been snatched and they are forced to live in cities, or become Maoists, commit suicide or take to wrong ways...

"This is most prevalent in tribal-majority states. Such farmers then take out their anger on people, on officials," she said.

Mayawati said the bill had shortcomings and that the government should try to evolve a national consensus by taking the views of tribals and small farmers.

More from Sify: