Jharkhand BJP calls meeting of tribal leaders to discuss land act amendments

The BJP government in Jharkhand suffered an embarrassment when the Governor last week returned the amendments for reconsideration.

IANS June 28, 2017 15:43:55 IST
Jharkhand BJP calls meeting of tribal leaders to discuss land act amendments

Ranchi: The ruling BJP in Jharkhand has called a meeting of tribal leaders on Thursday to discuss the amendments to the two contentious land acts that were returned by Governor Draupadi Murmu.

The BJP government in Jharkhand suffered an embarrassment when the Governor last week returned the amendments for reconsideration.

The BJP has stepped in to defend the government and find ways to push the amendments. The opposition parties have told the government not to bring the amendments again in the state assembly.

Jharkhand BJP president Lakshman Giluwa told reporters that the meeting of tribal leaders has been called to discuss the amendments in the two land acts. The party's view of the amendments will be later informed to the state government.

Jharkhand BJP calls meeting of tribal leaders to discuss land act amendments

Representational image. AFP

This is a sensitive issue and the government should go for a referendum or take the view of constitutional experts," former Chief Minister Arjun Munda told reporters.

Karia Munda, eight-time BJP Lok Sabha MP from Khuti and a tribal leader, said: "The amendments are not in the interest of the state. When the bill is taken for reconsideration in the state assembly then even legislators of the ruling party will speak."

BJP alliance partner, All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), has been opposing the amendments. "Our party has been opposing the amendments in both acts," Chandra Prakash Chaudhary, Water Resources Minister and AJSU legislator, told reporters.

Governor Murmu returned the amendments in the two land acts - Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act last week. The amendments were passed by the state assembly by voice vote amid stiff protest by the opposition parties in the assembly in November last year. 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 will the amendments benefit the tribal people?"

The amendments in both the acts were pending with the Governor since November last year.

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 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.

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