Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jameen Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat - Gujarat Assembly passes controversial amendments to land laws

Jameen Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat (JAAG)
Khet Bhavan, Opp. Cargo Motors, Near Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad-380 027

PRESS NOTE  September 9, 2015

The Gujarat Assembly has recently passed some controversial amendments to 4 existing 
legislations, viz.

The Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948
The Saurashtra Gharkhed, Tenancy Settlement and Agricultural Lands Ordinance, 1949
The Gujarat Tenancy & Agricultural Lands (Vidarbha Region & Kutch Area) Act, 1958
The Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act, 1960

The thrust of all amendments in these 4 legislations is to make transfer of land to industry and industrialists as easy as possible and at minimum cost to the purchasing industry/industrialist by legalizing any and all (past) illegalities on their part. Not only that, pending legal cases are also to be deemed to have lapsed, bringing into question whether the phrase ‘rule of law’ holds meaning any longer. Moreover, while deciding legality/validity or otherwise of questionable transactions, the government official (Collector/Mamlatdar) have been granted arbitrary powers of the highest degree. The government is also, by law, making it mandatory for itself to ‘rescue’ a rogue industrialist who fails in his/her undertaking to put up an industry and to compensate him/her ‘adequately and appropriately’.

We hold these amendments to be wholly anti-people and completely unconstitutional. The GoG cannot, any more, claim to be pro-farmer (despite repealing the LARR Bill) or pro-poor, as these amendments expose its anti-farmer mindset. We also maintain that these amendments are not geared to spur ‘development’ at all; they are consciously trying to increase the already unbridgeable economic disparities thus exacerbating social unrest.

While we condemn the government, we are also mindful of the fact that the opposition (in this case the INC) has a constitutional duty and people’s mandate to raise its voice whenever it perceives the government to be straying from its pro-people orientation. Sadly, we find the present dispensation to be entirely laidback and lackadaisical in discharging this duty. We condemn the opposition in equal terms in failing to uphold its constitutional duty and in making the voice of the farmer, and the poor heard in the Assembly.

Achyut Yagnik                Anand Mazgaonkar                   
Ashim Roy                       Ashok Shrimali
Bharat Jhalla                  Ghanshyam Shah                       
Girish Patel                      Hiren Gandhi
Indukumar Jani              Krishnakant                                  
Persis Ginwalla              Rajnibhai Dave
Rohit Prajapati              Rohit Shukla                                  
Sagar Rabari                  Saroop Dhruv
Sonal Mehta                   Swati Desai                                   
Trupti Shah