Bihar CM Nitish Kumar opposes land bill at NITI Aayog meet

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday demanded that the amended Land Acquisition Bill be withdrawn in favour of the original 2013 legislation even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to parties to end the deadlock over the Bill.

“The state government opposes any attempt to dilute, nullify or tamper with the letter and spirit of the 2013 Act in its original form,” Kumar said while addressing the second meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog in New Delhi which was convened to discuss the land acquisition Bill.

Kumar said “substitution of term ‘private company’ by term ‘private entity’, removal of the consent clause, exemption from social impact assessment and special provisions for safeguarding food security in the process of land acquisition and relaxation in the time limit for return of the unutilised acquired land are not in public interest.”

Kumar was among 16 chief ministers who attended a meeting of the rejigged plan panel NITI Ayog’s governing council, chaired by the Prime Minister.

In the meeting, Modi reached out to parties appealing them not to come in the way of prosperity of farmers, saying the deadlock over the land acquisition Bill is seriously impacting rural development.

Modi said, “The political deadlock over land acquisition (law) is seriously impacting rural development, including the creation of schools, hospitals, roads and irrigation projects.”

Meanwhile, Kumar requested Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to honour the commitment made by him in his budget speech when he proposed special assistance to Bihar as given to Andhra Pradesh. He highlighted specific provision in the Bihar State Reorganisation Act (2000) that provides for the special needs of Bihar to be looked after by the Central government.

The Chief Minister in his speech also touched upon the issue of Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) and urged the Centre to release the caste data so that strategic and holistic planning could be done to address people’s concern.