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Ahmed Patel meets Gujarat Governor over land acquisition for bullet train

After failing to bring in an ordinance to amend the land acquisition laws and an all-round outcry against the move, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government stuck to the law brought by the UPA regime on land acquisition.

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Ahmed Patel

Gandhinagar, May 9 : Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat Ahmed Patel on Wednesday led a delegation of state party leaders and farmers to Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli to submit a memorandum on various issues related to acquisition of land for the Bullet Train project and those concerning farmers and Panchayati Raj institutions.

“We are not opposing development, the Congress has never opposed development. Our track record of the last 25-30 years shows that we ensured balanced development of both agriculture and industries. It has never been one at the cost of the other. But the NDA government is bent upon industries’ development at the cost of farmers,” Patel told the media.

He alleged that after failing to bring in an ordinance to amend the land acquisition laws and an all-round outcry against the move, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government stuck to the law brought by the UPA regime on land acquisition.

However, they they made amendments to the parts of law coming under the purview of states and did away with the clauses related to public hearing, social impact, etc., he said.

“We oppose such amendments. Public hearings are announced hours before the hearing, making it impossible for the farmers to attend. We demand that for the Bullet Train project, either the land available with the railways should be used or the land meant for the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).”

Patel said that the Congress would also support the farmers’ movement to be organised in Palghar, Maharashtra, on June 3 to protest against the acquisition of land for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project.

Political parties from Maharashtra have been opposing a recent land survey by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd, which has been entrusted the task to implement the Bullet Train project proposed between Ahmedabad and Mumbai with Japanese collaboration.

The Bullet train is envisaged to travel through Thane and Palghar districts of Maharashtra. This has been opposed by the All India Kisan Sabha, which has launched an agitation against the project.

In the memorandum to the Governor, the Congress also alleged that the ruling BJP government in the state was not adhering to court verdicts on maintaining autonomy of the Panchayati Raj institutions.

“People had no power in either Taluka (Block) panchayats or district panchayats, as those are being run through executive orders of Taluka Development Officers (TDO) and District Development Officers (DDO), who act in line with the wishes of their political bosses,” the memorandum says.

The allegations come on a day when the Gujarat High Court ruled that the members of the panchayat would not be able to bring about a “no-confidence” motion against the Sarpanch in the first year and for six months against Taluka panchayat presidents, as it would be against the spirit of the Constitution.

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NDA govt created history in MSP hikes: Modi

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Facing protests by farmers on the three agriculture-related Bills passed by Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that the NDA government had created history with regard to increase in MSPs of crops.

Addressing a party function held to commemorate Bharatiya Jana Sangh chief Deendayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary, he again defended the proposed legislations and said that small farmers would benefit the most.

“Small and marginal farmers, who constitute 86 per cent of those involved in agriculture, will benefit the most from agricultural reforms and the new laws,” Modi added.

The Prime Minister exhorted BJP workers to take the message of agriculture reforms and its benefits to the Indian farmers.

He also attacked the opposition parties, adding that only empty slogans were given by previous governments in the name of farmers till now.

AS for labour reforms, he said: “Only 30 per cent workers were so far covered under the minimum wages guarantee scheme, but now it will be extended to all workers in the unorganised sector. New laws will ensure timely salary to over 50 crore workers.”

The Prime Minister said that the welfare schemes initiated by his government drew inspiration from Upadhyaya, while praising BJP workers for serving people during the coronavirus lockdown.

Amid opposition protests, Parliament has passed The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, apart from three Bills related to labour.

Source: IANS

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BharatBandh: BJP’s farm bills remind one of East India Company’s reign, says Priyanka Gandhi

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Priyanka Gandhi Election

Supporting the nationwide Bharat Bandh called by farmers’ organisation on Friday to protest against the farm bills, Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi hit out at the BJP-led NDA government, saying that the bills remind one of East India Company’s reign.

“MSP will be snatched and farmers will be enslaved by the billionaires. They will neither get price nor honour. Farmers will become labourers in their own fields,” she said in a Twitter post. “We will not let this injustice (with farmers) happen,” she added.

In another post, she said that the passage of farm bills has changed the meaning of MSP from ‘Minimum Support Price’ to ‘Maximum Support in Profit’ for capitalists. “Where will the farmer go,” she added.

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Congress backs Bharat Bandh, Rahul Gandhi says new agriculture laws will ‘enslave’ farmers

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Rahul Gandhi Video Conf

Voicing support for the Bharat Bandh call given by farmer organisations to protest the farm bills, the Congress on Friday alleged that the new agriculture laws will “enslave” farmers and the MSP will be “snatched away” from them.

Various farmer groups have called for a nationwide shutdown on Friday against the three bills, which were passed by both houses of Parliament during the Monsoon session and await presidential assent.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Randeep Surjewala spoke out against the farm bills and backed the Bharat Bandh.

“A flawed GST destroyed MSMEs. The new agriculture laws will enslave our farmers,” former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted with the hashtag ‘I Support Bharat Bandh’.

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