Hyderabad: A spirited and healthy debate on the crucial Land Acquisition and Compensation Bill for various irrigation projects in the State added spark to the proceedings in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, when Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao patiently allayed the apprehensions of the combined opposition about farmers’ welfare.
The opposition, led by the Congress, sought to pick holes in the Bill introduced in the House by Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao, but the Chief Minister shot down each one of them with precise replies and justification. Rao’s efforts were complemented with timely interventions by Harish Rao.
Stating that the Bill was essentially intended to extend liberal compensation to land oustees, the Chief Minister, intervening during the discussion on the Bill, said: “The Centre’s ‘Right to Fair compensation and Transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013,’ had shortcomings and to overcome this, about six to seven States in the country enacted their own legislations as land acquisition is in the concurrent list.”
He made it clear that the Bill was assured of the Centre’s nod as the draft was prepared after due consultation with the Law Department. Clarifying the points raised by Leader of the Opposition, K Jana Reddy, the Chief Minister made it clear that it was not an amendment to the Central Act. However, Article 254 of the Indian Constitution gives the State the authority to bring in a legislation and the current Bill has legal sanction.
The Chief Minister took care to answer every query raised by the opposition point-by-point. He, however, minced no words in flaying them for trying to scuttle the progress of works in key irrigation projects in Telangana. “Key irrigation projects can’t see the light of day unless there is expeditious acquisition of land,” he asserted.
Rao said that acquisition of land was inevitable for construction of irrigation projects aimed at providing water to the parched lands in the State.
Stating that the Central Act for land acquisition had “neither gold nor diamond in it”, he said the State had issued GO MS no 123 to enhance the compensation to the displaced by tenfold, while stepping up the pace of land acquisition as well as taking up works on irrigation projects.