Barring a few, all written petitions submitted to the Parliamentary Panel examining Land Bill have opposed the amendment in the Act of 2013.

Government sources said the panel received around 650 written submissions. It is understood that the number of petitions supporting the Bill is in single digit.

These petitions, mostly from industry associations, are likely to be included in the report to be presented by July 27.

Sources also said that there was a suggestion to put all the written submissions on the Parliament website, but was rejected.

“Now, these could be part of the report to be adopted by the committee and presented to Parliament,” another source said, adding that the report will have some dissent notes as well.

A Joint Parliamentary Panel with representatives from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, is looking into the Bill proposing changes in Land Act, which was enacted by the previous government. Earlier the committee was scheduled to give its report by the first day of the monsoon session, but now it has been given one more week.

Apart from the written submission, the committee has also randomly selected around 40 people to give oral submissions. Sources confirmed that most of these people invited were from organisations affiliated with the BJP. However, barring a couple most spoke against the Bill.

Minister upbeat

But, Rural Development Minister Rao Birendra Singh does not think that such a situation will hurt the prospects of the Bill.

“Do not term this as opposition. These are only suggestions for certain amendments,” Singh said when his attention was drawn towards more opposition voices.

He said the government will take a final decision on the Bill after the joint Parliamentary panel submits its report and was open to suggestions in the interests of farmers.

When asked about the move to do away with the Social Impact Assessment, Singh said “If any State government wants to do an SIA, it can.”

Attack on Congress

Attacking the Congress for opposing the Bill, he said the UPA’s Bill needed to be changed because it was made with an eye on catching votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “The party has lost credibility…Now they are trying to win back the constituency that they lost,” he said.

“You cannot blow hot and cold in the same breath,” he said taking a dig at the Congress.

Road block

Terming the old Bill as a road block to development, the Modi government brought the new Bill introducing nine changes including relaxation from consent clause and social impact assessment in acquiring land for certain kind of projects besides others.

But it is facing tough opposition not just from the Congress but also from other political parties. That is why, the Bill is yet to be approved by the Rajya Sabha forcing the government to promulgate the ordinance thrice.

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