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“It is not right in God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”

Lok Sabha passes Land Bill, brushes Opposition protests aside

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday finally passed the Land Acquisition Bill, which is under attack from farmer and civil society activists, brushing aside protests by the Opposition.

The proposed legislation removes the need for obtaining the consent of landowners and carrying out Social Economic Assessment (SIA) for acquiring land under certain categories.

The Right to Fair Compensation, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015, was passed after nine amendments brought by the government.

The Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Left walked out before the voting took place. The Biju Janata Dal, which withdrew amendments moved by it, also staged a walkout. NDA ally Shiv Sena too abstained from voting on the bill.

The new bill replaces an ordinance promulgated in December. The ordinance had amended the 2013 bill passed by the UPA government. The bill will now be taken up by the Rajya Sabha where the Narendra Modi government is in a minority.

“We strongly oppose prevision in this bill and we will continue to oppose it in Rajya Sabha,” Congress leader Kamal Nath told media after the bill was passed.

“It is a black day for Parliament considering the manner in which they (NDA) bulldozed it. The new bill is taking away the real impact of the 2013 bill which was passed during the UPA II regime,” Veerappa Moily of Congress said.

Addressing media, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the land bill takes the interest of farmers in to full consideration. “Let the Opposition say whatever they want to say,” Singh added. “The nine amendments that were put in place are proof enough that it is a pro-farmer bill,” Ch Birender Singh, another BJP leader said.

“The urgency that the Narendra Modi government is showing for bills shows that its pay-back time for him - to pay back for the financial backing that he received during elections,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.