New Delhi: A meeting of the Joint Committee on the contentious land bill slated for Thursday was postponed on Wednesday as some opposition parties demanded a statement by the Prime Minister in Parliament on his commitment made by him in his radio broadcast that the ordinance will not be reissued.
In a letter addressed to Committee chairman SS Ahluwalia of BJP, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, SP's Ram Gopal Yadav and Congress' Digivijay Singh, Jairam Ramesh and KV Thomas objected to holding of the meeting till the Prime Minister makes a statement in Parliament on what government proposes to do with amendments to the Land Acquisition Act.
They said as the PM had asserted in his radio programme that the Land Ordinance would not be reissued, there was no point in discussing the bill as it is based on the amendments to the 2013 Land Act brought into force through the ordinance.
The Trinamool Congress gave a similar letter separately and the JD (U) also objected to the holding of the meeting. Ramesh said the meeting of the committee scheduled for Thursday was postponed after the letters.
"The Committee has lost all meaning and relevance following PM's Mann ki Baat of August 30. By continuing, the Committee is making mockery of what the PM said. And we respect what the PM says," Ramesh said.
Members from the Opposition have maintained that since the Prime Minister has himself said that government will not re-promulgate the ordinance on land, which was based on the bill being examined by the Committee, there was no point in continuing with the panel. But government has maintained that the Centre itself has not taken a decision in this regard and the Union Cabinet will take a call after the Joint Committee submits its report.
At a recent Niti Aayog meeting, some states had felt that they should be allowed to frame land acquisition laws.
In his 'Mann ki baat' address, Modi had said that the government will not re-promulgate the land ordinance which expired on August 31 and had declared readiness to accept any suggestions to benefit the farmers in the pending bill on it.
Giving up the ordinance route, the government had on August 28 issued a statutory order to include 13 central acts like National Highway and Railways acts to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired under land law.
The term of the panel was recently extended till the last date of the Winter session which ends on December 23.