Refer Land Acquisition Bill to Select Committee: Brinda Karat

Maintaining that Land Acquisition Bill dilutes rights of tribals in scheduled areas, CPI(M)`s Brinda Karat demanded UPA government refer proposed legislation to Select Committee of Parliament.

Visakhapatnam: Maintaining that the Land Acquisition Bill dilutes the rights of tribals in scheduled areas, CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat on Saturday demanded that the UPA government refer the proposed legislation to a Select Committee of Parliament for further discussion.

A broad consensus was reached among political parties on the contentious Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, at a meeting convened by the government in New Delhi on April 18.

Addressing a press conference here, Karat said some provisions of the Bill run contrary to Supreme Court`s ruling with regard to Vedanta`s bauxite mining project in Odisha.

The spirit of the April 18 judgement, which directed the gram sabhas of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts to decide on giving clearance to the project, has not been taken into consideration by the government, she said.

The ruling in the Vedanta case protects the interests of the adivasis but they have been diluted by the government in the proposed legislation, the CPM leader said.

"Gram Sabha, Panchayat and Zilla Prishad concepts (with regard to land acquisition) have been eliminated in the proposed Bill. Forest rights have also been been ignored," she alleged.

Karat had arrived here to attend a two-day meeting of Advasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, a body fighting for the rights of tribals, scheduled for tomorrow.

"It is clear the Bill has been envisaged by the UPA government with political considerations," she said.

Karat appealed to political parties and tribal MPs to re-look certain provisions of the Bill and demand that it be referred to a Select Committee.

Political parties should not fall into the trap laid by the Congress-led Government, which wants to water down the proposed land law, the CPM leader accused.