Ludhiana: Union Minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday lambasted the Akali-BJP government in Punjab for trying to acquire farmers` land under old laws when the new Land Acquisition Act passed by Parliament was in place.
The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister warned the Punjab government against forcibly acquiring land of farmers in nine Ludhiana villages under the archaic 1894 act, which stands repealed.
"I won`t let you build your castles after devastating the farmers by forcibly acquiring their land," the minister said, addressing a series of meetings in Dakha here.
Tewari said it was shocking to learn that the Akali government, which otherwise claimed to be pro-farmer, had decided to acquire land under a 120-year-old law enacted by the imperial British.
"Let us not forget that the 1894 Act was enacted by the Imperial British and was aimed at snatching away the farmers` land in India," he said.
The minister said he was informed by the state government officials that the new law would come into effect in Punjab only in January next year.
"If it was so, why can`t the state government wait for a month more?" he asked.
He said the Akali government did not want the farmers to benefit and "hence, it hastened through the acquisition notices which will be consigned to the flames".
The Minister said, while on the one hand, Punjab government was denying farmers the benefit of the new Central law, on the other hand, it was presenting various Central schemes, like Food Security Act, Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana, as its own.