Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has strongly condemned the manner in which the Telangana Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement bill (Telangana Amendment Act, 2016) was passed by adopting three amendments in the special session of State Legislative Assembly on Sunday.

Speaking to media persons at Assembly Media Point, Uttam Kumar Reddy criticised the haste with which amendments were adopted and entire proceedings of special session were over in less than 10 minutes.

He said Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao did not even come to the House to facilitate debate on such an important issue.

Condemning the TRS Government for not accepting Congress party’s demand that the amendments to LA Bill should be preceded by a debate on farmers’ issues, he said Congress members were not allowed to speak on the subject.

He announced that the Congress party would take up the fight to Delhi and meet President of India Pranab Mukherjee within a week requesting him to reject the Bill.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the amended Bill was detrimental to the interest of farmers in the State. He said that the Law Department should have gone through the amendments with a fine tooth comb, especially regarding the requirement of Social Impact Assessment (SIA).

However, he said the Social Impact Assessment was given a complete miss in the amended bill. “Social Impact Assessment and Food Security provisions are primordial and foundational to the very essence of the Land Acquisition Act 2013 and they cannot be done away with,” he said. Further,

he said that the State Government was bound by law under the AP Revision of Market Value Guidelines Rules 1998 to revise and update the market values of lands being acquired. Instead, the government wants to go by ‘ascertain market value’.

He said that the Bill would hurt the interest of lakhs of farmers in the State.

“As noticed in the case of Mallanna Sagar and other acquisitions made for irrigation, energy and other projects, the State Government would resort to forcible acquisition of land from farmers and other private parties. In a democratic country, a farmer would have equal rights as

that of a Chief Minister.

However, by passing the controversial bill, TRS Government has displayed its arrogance and KCR is treating Telangana as his personal fiefdom,” he said adding that most of the oustee farmers belonged to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

He said that the Congress party wants all acquisitions to be made only under Land Acquisition Act 2013 which was passed after a thorough discussion in both the House of Parliament. “TRS leaders are carrying out false propaganda that Congress was stalling the projects.

We are not against development. But we want the government to protect the interest of farmers by implementing Land Acquisition Act 2013 only,” he said.

Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the amendments to Land Acquisition Bill were carried out in a haste only to benefit some contractors who are being awarded huge contracts through ‘non-competitive and manipulative’ tenders.

The TPCC Chief accused the TRS Government of completely neglecting the farming sector during the last three years.

While the overall agricultural production has come down during TRS regime, those growing various crops were unable to get supportive price for their produce. “What we demanded during the BAC meeting and also in the House today was a discussion on issues concerning farmers.

What is the use of having the Assembly session when it is not being used to discuss farmers’ issues?” he asked.

“Chilli, turmeric and other farmers are in distress for not getting remunerative prices. We demanded Market Intervention Fund of Rs. 1,000 crore to help those farmers.

But the Chief Minister tried to politicise the entire issue. He simply dismissed protest by farmers and even did not regret registration of cases against them. KCR must apologise for this. Else, farmers will teach him a befitting lesson soon,” he said.

Describing TRS Government and KCR as ‘anti-farmer’, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the State Government’s wrong policies resulted in more than 3,000 farmers’ suicides during the last three years. Instead of taking corrective steps, he said that the TRS Govt was still pursuing its anti-farmer agenda while suppressing the voice of opposition parties. 

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