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Mamata fails to attend meeting on land acquisition bill


Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, a staunch opponent of the proposed Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, on Monday failed to turn up at a meeting convened by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to sort out differences on the issue.


The meeting was aimed at hammering a way out for the passage of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, which has been opposed by the Railway Minister, who believes that the legislation would run counter to the stand she took over Nandigram and Singur issues in West Bengal.


Government sources said the bill would not make a headway till Banerjee participates in the consultations to resolve the deadlocks.


Rural Development Minister CP Joshi attended the meeting and briefed Mukherjee about "his Ministry's stand on the apprehensions raised by Banerjee with regard to the proposed bill," government sources said.


Banerjee has been opposed to a provision in the bill which provides for private developers acquiring 70 per cent of land for a proposed industrial project directly from farmers and land owners.


The Trinamool Congress chief, who was in the forefront of agitations in Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal on the issue of land acquisition, has strongly demanded penal provisions to check use of money and muscle power by private developers while acquiring land from farmers.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently assured Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that the pending bill would be brought in the Winter Session of Parliament.


The bill redefines 'public purpose' for land acquisition as defence purposes, construction of infrastructure projects or projects useful to the general public.


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