Mamata, Union Cabinet at loggerheads over land acquisition bill

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New Delhi, July 24 (ANI): Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee is understood to have raised serious objections to a bill relating to land acquisition for industrialisation and rehabilitation of the land losers in a Cabinet meeting held on Thursday evening.

The Union Cabinet reportedly discussed the amendments to the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2007 and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill for nearly three hours.

According to sources, Banerjee opposed a major provision in the bill that provides for private developers acquiring 70 per cent of the land for a proposed industrial project directly from the farmers and landowners. According to the provision of the proposed amendment bill, the remaining 30 per cent is to be acquired by the state government.

Banerjee, who was at the forefront of the agitations in Nandigram and Singur in West Bengal against the acquisition of land for the TATA Nano project last year, strongly demanded penal provisions to check the use of money and muscle power by private developers while acquiring land from the farmers, Cabinet sources said.

The new amendment falls short of protecting poor farmers as the rehabilitation and resettlement is not fully guaranteed by the provisions of the bill, Banerjee had argued.

Meanwhile, the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), which is led by social activist Medha Patkar, staged a demonstration in the capital against the proposed land acquisition bill. (ANI)

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