New Delhi: The Parliamentary panel examining the contentious land acquisition bill is likely to seek a week’s extension to complete its task as it may find it difficult to prepare its report before July 21, when the Monsoon session starts.
The chairman of Joint Committee of Parliament on the land bill S S Ahluwalia is expected to write to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for the extension to finish the task, three members who attended today’s meeting said.
The committee has been mandated to submit its report on day one of the first week of the Monsoon session. But the extension could be sought to table the report on first day of second week of the session, beginning on July 21, they said.
As the panel was set up by a motion of the House, Ahluwalia may have to seek the extension by moving a motion in this regard in the Lok Sabha. In the last Lok Sabha, P C Chacko, chairman of JPC on 2G scam, had to seek the permission of the Lok Sabha to extend the timeline of the panel to table its report.
Sources said as most of the state Chief Secretaries have not reverted to the government on various issues raised by the Committee, the window to move amendments to the bill for the members as well as the government could be extended from the present July 1-6 to July 6-13.
Meanwhile, in today’s meeting, various agriculture institutes and think tanks pressed for the need to “first acquire wasteland and use cultivable land as a last resort.”
Representatives from the Indian Council for Agriculture Research, G B Pant University, Punjab Agriculture University were among those who deposed before the panel.
INLD MP Dushyant Chautala also appeared before the panel as a witness to oppose the amendments to the 2013 Act.
“Most of them said first the wasteland should be acquired. The cultivable land should be acquired as a last resort,” said members quoting the representatives.
The agriculture universities, institutes and think tanks working in the field were invited as former Union Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar felt it was important to get their views before members firm up their stand on the bill.
RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch, which has dubbed the amendments to the land Act as “anti-farmer” and “anti-poor”, will appear before the committee tomorrow.
Congress leader and Committee member Digvijay Singh had demanded that the RSS outfit be heard on the issue.
Since the Joint Committee of Parliament is different from a department-related standing committee or an investigative Joint Parliamentary Committee, it will present a bill in Parliament based on the amendments moved by members as well as the government.
Once the amendments have been moved, they would be discussed on a clause-by-clause basis. If there is a unanimity, the bill will be adopted. Otherwise, there could also be a vote on the amendments. The Committee will then table the bill — as reported by it — in both Houses of Parliament.
While the Committee is likely to go through the amendments on a clause-by-clause basis on July 16 and 17, the draft bill is likely to be placed for consideration and adoption on 21 July.