BENGALURU: From going shirtless as a mark of protest in North Karnataka to making attempts to block the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway, farmers on Monday voiced their ire against the government’s amendment to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. What caused the furore among the farming community? According to farmer leaders, the government passed the amendment to grab land and facilitate better deals for private industrialists. However, the government claimed there’s no mala fide intention behind the amendment and it was implemented only to speed up public projects.Revenue minister RV Deshpande defended the amendment and said there was no intention to encroach upon private properties despite admitting that it would also expedite projects undertaken under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. “Yes, an amendment has been made. But it’s not against the interests of land owners or farmers. It has been done to expedite projects of the Centre, state and those based on the PPP model,” said Deshpande. Another reason why farmers hit the streets is that a committee at the deputy commissioner’s (DC) level in all 30 districts is empowered to fix the land price. The revenue minister claimed no discretionary powers are vested with the DCs or land acquisition committees, and that guidelines for procuring land will have to be followed as per the original Act of 2013. As per the 2013 Act, farmers will get four times the guidance value in rural parts of the state and twice the value in urban areas.
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