Chandigarh, Feb 23: Congress on Monday termed the BJP-led NDA government's land acquisition ordinance as anti-farmer which has dealt a severe blow to the peasants.
Congress leaders and workers, along with farmers, staged protest against the ordinance alleging that the "anti-farmer" face of BJP-led Central government had been unmasked.
Former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, President of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee Pardeep Chhabra along with other leaders of local Congress unit took part in the protest and raised slogans against the Central government.
Protesters, along with Bansal and Chhabra, courted arrest when they were stopped from marching towards Punjab Raj Bhawan to handover memorandum to Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who is also the Administrator of Chandigarh, demanding immediate withdrawal of the ordinance.
The protest march began from Sector 18-19 lightpoint and as they reached the Sector 7-8 roundabout, they were stopped by the police from proceeding towards the Raj Bhawan. Then they squatted on the road in protest and, later courted arrest after which they were taken to Sector 26 police station from where they were released in the evening. Earlier, addressing the gathering,
Bansal said in 2013, erstwhile UPA Government had brought Land Acquisition Act after due deliberation in the Parliament. "However, BJP did not participate in the debate. Besides, making pro-farmers Act, the then Congress-led government had made in mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of landowners for acquisition of land but now BJP regime has removed that clause," he said.
Bansal alleged that for making the changes in the Act, the Narendra Modi dispensation had avoided the debate in Parliament and had opted to introduce the ordinance. "Irrigated land will be snatched from the farmers through this Ordinance," Bansal claimed, adding that despite tall pre-poll promises made to the farmers before last year's Lok Sabha polls, BJP-led government had dealt "severe blow to the peasants".
Speaking on the occasion, Chhabra said ever since the BJP government had assumed power at the Centre, "there seems to be a deliberate attempt to harm the agriculture industry especially the small and marginal farmers and agriculture based workers.
Within eight months in the Government, BJP decided to change this law with an ordinance.
"Congress will continue to hold the protest till the ordinance is withdrawn," he said.
On December 29 last year, the government had recommended promulgation of an ordinance making significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas of industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.