As the Haryana Assembly voted Tuesday to fast-track land acquisition, the opposition Congress demanded it be either withdrawn or referred to the House’s select committee, claiming many of its provisions are anti-farmer. In response to the forward movement of the Bill, Congress lawmakers led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda staged a walkout from the House.
Legislators also called it a ‘black law’ hinting that it may further fuel the farmers’ agitation which lasted nine months. The BJP led government has proposed ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2021’ to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The Bill proposes that ‘In order to ensure that existing infrastructure projects are completed and that the public interest is protected, the state government intends to amend Section 2 and insert Section 10-A in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013, to exempt certain development projects, including rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and health and education and metro rail projects from the scope of the principal Act’.
CM Manohar Lal Khattar said the bill was passed to ensure the smooth commencement and completion of linear development, essential and emergency projects. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, however, called the move ‘crony capitalism’. Also, he objected to the powers given to the Collector for land acquisition proceedings. Kiran Choudhry, a Congress Member of Parliament, claims the Collector’s increased powers may adversely affect female members of the families concerned and tenants.
Dushyant Chautala, the Deputy Chief Minister who moved the Bill in the Assembly, strongly defended it and said that Haryana was not the first state to amend the legislation, since 16 other states had already amended it.