Lashing out at the Akali-BJP government for either not passing on the benefit of various people-friendly laws to the people of Punjab or packaging various welfare schemes as its own, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari on Tuesday said the government’s intent to deny the benefit of the new land acquisition law to the farmers of nine Ludhiana villages was a classic example of this.
The minister warned the Punjab government against circumventing the farmer-friendly Land Acquisition Act by trying to forcibly acquire the farmers’ land in nine Ludhiana villages under the archaic 1894 Act, which stands repealed.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 workers’ meetings in the Dakha Assembly segment organised by former MLA Jassi Khangura, Tewari said it was shocking to learn that the Akali government that claims to be pro-farmer had decided to acquire the land of the farmers under a 120-year-old Act when the new law had been enacted in Parliament recently.
“Let us not forget that the 1894 Act was enacted by the British and was aimed at snatching away the farmers’ land in India,” he added.
He said when he spoke to the state government officials in this regard, he was told that the law would come into force in the state from January 2014. He asked even if it was so, why the state government cannot wait for a month. “But the government’s intentions are not genuine as it does not want to provide benefit to the farmers as it wants to snatch their land for peanuts,” he added.
The minister said while the government was denying the farmers the benefit of the new Central law, it was presenting various welfare schemes like the Food Security Act and Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana as its own.