Social activist Medha Patkar on Tuesday described as “undemocratic and pro corporate” the Centre’s recommendation for promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act and urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to give his assent to the measure.”The decision is undemocratic and pro corporate. We appeal to the President to show courage, take a position on this sensitive matter and not give his nod,” she said. Patkar said the ordinance will adversely impact the livelihood of millions of people and lead to a spurt in farmers suicides.”The decision is not transparent and against Constitutional norms. The government deliberately avoided a debate in Parliament on the issue. The ordinance has been pushed now only to facilitate corporate and business interests and will expose BJP’s real intentions,” she told PTI.Regarding the clause of Social Impact Assessment (SIA) being done away with if the land is acquired for five purposes including national security, defence and rural infrastructure, Patkar said, “They are diluting environmental laws. They do not want any hearing given to the affected people.” “Since independence, successive governments have misused the urgency clause in land acquisition legislation to deprive people of land,” she said.Patkar said the NDA government had in 2003 approved a national rehabilitation policy which never saw the light of day. “We have always said there should be no forcible land acquisition and that it should be done with consent,” she said.The Modi government had yesterday cleared promulgation of an ordinance making significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas of industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

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Social activist Medha Patkar slams ordinance on land acquisition