Repeal Karnataka land reforms ordinance: Siddaramaiah


Team Udayavani, Jul 16, 2020, 5:14 PM IST

Bengaluru: Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Siddaramaiah on Thursday alleged there was a scam bigger than illegal mining in the state and blamed the government for it.

Demanding the withdrawal of the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, that liberalises farmland ownership, Siddaramaiah accused the government of behaving like agents of corporates by bowing to realtors.

The opposition leader of the Congress said the party, along with farmers and other like-minded parties, would hold a state-wide agitation if the ordinance was not withdrawn.

‘The BJP government in Karnataka has made amendments to the land reforms Act and brought out an ordinance on July 13 despite stiff opposition,’ he said.

‘I had initially thought that the government will not come out with the ordinance at a time when COVID-19 is spreading, but the government did,’ Siddaramaiah said.

He told reporters here that the government’s move was made in a dictatorial manner and the day the ordinance was passed would be observed as black day. ‘If the government had good intentions it should have introduced the ordinance during the Assembly session and also had a public debate on the issue,’ the opposition leader said.

Karnataka had, on July 13, promulgated the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 following Governor Vajubhai Vala’s assent.

The cabinet approved the amendments on June 11.

The ordinance as against the earlier Karnataka Land Reforms Act eases restrictions on purchase of agricultural land and the ceiling on extent of land one can hold.

It has repealed Sections 79 (A), (B) and (C) from the original Act, and made way for non-agriculturists to buy farmland.

Siddaramaiah further said the present Karnataka government has bowed down to real estate players and corporates, and accused the Centre of supporting such anti- farmer policies of the state.

He said 13,814 pending cases of violation in land use would get dismissed under the latest ordinance.

‘This looks like a scam bigger than the mining scam, as several cases or petitions that were pending under sections 79 (A), (B) are dismissed, and they were related to violation in use of land worth about Rs 45,000-50,000 crores,’ he said.

The mining scam that rocked the previous BJP government in the state in 2008-13 was said to be about Rs 35,000 crore.

To a question as to who was behind this scam, Siddaramaiah said, ‘I have said it is bigger than mining scam which involved specific people, but in this (scam) the whole government itself is in it and has fallen prey to corporate bodies and real estate…’ Pointing out that the government was giving various reasons for bringing in the ordinance, he said the intention is to help corporates and realtors, among others, which is clear from the fact that they have raised the land- holding limit to 80 units.

Also, the Congress leader cautioned that the government’s move may cause a threat to the food security of the country.

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