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Arunachal Pradesh government takes U-Turn on land bill

In a volte face, the Congress-led government in Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday said it opposes the contentious land bill of the BJP-led NDA Government and backs the UPA law, barely a month after it had — in a letter to Rural Development Ministry — found fault with the 2013 Act and suggested that it be “revisited”.
“The view of the Arunachal Government stands clear on the contentious land law being pursued by the Central government in the Parliament by bringing changes to the 2013 law passed by the UPA, which is that of the “Opposition.” In fact, chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Nabam Tuki had written a letter to the Prime Minister on July 13, clarifying the stand of the state government on the land law, as pushed by the present government at the Centre,” the media cell of the Chief Minister’s Office said, as reported by agencies.
Referring to a letter written by the CM on July 13, 2015, his office said that Mr Tuki had then clearly written, “We believe that the amendments go against the interest of farmers and livelihood losers and take away the rights of tribal communities and Gram Sabhas”.
Further, the CM had endorsed the 2013 Act of the UPA saying, “It was passed unanimously by the Parliament in September 2013 after over two years of nationwide consultations and debate.”
It also added that the CM requested Mr Modi to reconsider the whole issue and resolve the avoidable controversy.
Sunday’s statement by Mr Tuki’s office is in complete contrast to a communique to Additional Secretary K.P. Krishnan of Department of Land Resources in Rural Development Ministry, sent on June 22 this year, where Arunachal Government Commissioner and Secretary B Pertin had said that the 2013 land act is “too lengthy, time-consuming and complicated process.”
This letter had been circulated to members of the Joint Committee of Parliament on land headed by BJP MP SS Ahluwalia, which is looking into the vexed legislation, as per agency reports.
The state government had said in the June 22 letter that the 2013 Act required to be “revisited and reviewed to obviate, minimise and to reduce complications like involvement of external expert group for social impact assessment” and that there is “difficulty in acquiring land under the 2013 land Act”.
Noting that no land was acquired under the 2013 Act so far, the state government had said in the reply, “The government of Arunachal Pradesh is taking necessary steps for proper implementation of the Act as required under the relevant provision of the Act.”
Earlier the Joint Committee of Parliament, after its first meeting on May 29, had asked the states to submit their views on the proposed legislation in writing.
While the Government has no hope of support from Congress on the contentious land bill, Left and Trinamool Congress, it has still not given up on parties like SP, BJD, AIADMK, NCP and a few others by bringing in some changes in the draft bill.
BJD however in its reply to the panel, refrained from commenting on key clauses of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment Bill, 2015).
While the AIADMK Government of Tamil Nadu has opposed provisions of the section 3 of the proposed bill on exemption from the requirement of consent for private sector and PPP projects and provisions of section 5 relating to exemption from social impact assessment (SIA).
The Parliamentary panel is yet to get a response from Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh. Senior party leader Ramgopal Yadav had some time back talked of the need for some give and take from both sides—- the ruling alliance and the Opposition—to break the logjam over the issue.