Jharkhand opposition slams land acts amendments

The amendments were passed last November

Ranchi: A day after Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu returned amendments to the two contentions land acts, opposition parties in Jharkhand on June 24 said the BJP government should not “dare” bring in such amendments again in the state assembly.

“The state government should not commit such mistakes. The state assembly was misused to bring amendments in both the land acts. We welcome the Governor’s decision as she understood the feelings of tribal community members,” Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Executive president and former Chief Minister, told reporters in Ranchi, the state capital.

“The state government should not dare to again bring the amendments otherwise we will again hit the roads to protest,” he added. He a;sp demanded that the Domicile Policy formulated last year should be redefined.

Former central Minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay, welcoming the Governor’s decision, said: “This was a question of the existence of the traditions and culture of Jharkhand. The amendments were brought to help industrialists and it had nothing to do with the development of the state.”

Governor Murmu returned the amendments in the two land acts – Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act. The amendments were passed by the state assembly by voice vote amid stiff protest by the opposition parties in the assembly in November 2016. The opposition members while opposing the amendments had misbehaved with Speaker Dinesh Oraon when the amendments were tabled.

The governor returned the amendment bills with a query asking “How the amendments will benefit the tribal people?”

The amendments in both the acts were pending with the governor since November. The opposition parties, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo and other tribal leaders had separately met the governor and requested her not to clear the amendment bills.

According to sources in the government, 192 petitions were filed by different political parties and associations to Governor Murmu requesting her not to clear the amendments. The amendments were opposed by the entire opposition and also BJP alliance partner All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU). The amendments were also opposed by BJP legislators and Lok Sabha MPs.

Ignoring all opposition, the BJP government led by Ragubar Das had passed the amendments. With the amendments, if approved by the governor, agricultural land could be used for non agriculture purposes. The amendments had proposed that agricultural land can be acquired for development work, infrastructure and other works by the state government.

Since Governor Murmu returned the amendments, the state government has remained tight-lipped over the issue.

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