The Prabajan Virodhi Manch Convenor Upamanyu Hazarika demanded the BJP-led Assam government to bring in the legislation reserving land for the indigenous people, which was announced by the government on December 21st, 2019.
Hazarika strongly criticized the government for its move for conversion of agricultural land into non-agricultural purpose.
“What is required for the Government is to implement the decision of the cabinet of 21st December 2019 where it was resolved to bring in legislation reserving land for indigenous, employment and trade licenses also for indigenous which would have truly benefited the indigenous people. On the other hand, all large procurement contracts during COVID-19 have gone to non-indigenous amounting to hundreds of crores,” Hazarika said.
Also read: Assam govt forwards MSME ordinance amid land exploitation concerns
The Assam government has faced flak over its decision to ease out the process of setting up industries in the state for the sake of accelerating industrialisation. In a recent tweet, State Commerce and Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary stated anyone will be able to set up industry in Assam just by submitting one self-declaration, said, “No permission, clearance or license will be required for three years. Land will also be deemed converted for industrial purpose.”
After the announcement, civil society organisations, lawyers and the opposition have criticised the move. The Assam government has been accused of ignoring serious environmental issues like protection of Dehing Patkai and Dibru Saikhowa National Park, which shook the state recently and consequently mobilised a movement. Instead, they are now allowing more people to set up industries without taking due diligence for the environment.
The Cabinet chaired by Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble Chief Minister, approved the ‘Assam Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Facilitation of Establishment and Operation) Ordinance, 2020’ on 30th June 2020.
The press release read, the Ordinance approved by the Cabinet will be a huge game-changer and aid to Ease of Doing Business in Assam. This Ordinance will not affect the land rights of indigenous people of Assam as protected by the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Reclassifications and Transfer for Non-Agricultural Purpose) Act 2015. This Ordinance does not affect the restrictions on sale or transfer of agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose as protected under the aforesaid Act. This Ordinance does not allow any person to buy or sell any agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose. The bar of agricultural land used or transferred for non-agricultural purpose as provided under the aforesaid Act shall remain as it is and this Ordinance will not affect it at all. In other words, agricultural land will remain with the agriculturalists only.
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