Guj Assembly passes amendment bills linked to land grabbing, agricultural university acts

The Gujarat Assembly on Friday passed two bills pertaining to amendments in the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act of 2020 and the Gujarat Organic Agricultural University Act of 2017.

The bills were passed in absence of the Opposition as the Congress MLAs staged a walkout immediately after Question Hour to protest against the suspension of senior legislator Punja Vansh for seven days.

The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition)(Amendment) Bill-2022, tabled by the state Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi, proposed that the word ‘land’ in the original act “shall not include the land in respect of which applications for grants are pending on the date of commencement of this Act under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights), Act, 2006”.

The amendment would to protect tribals from any penal action under the Land Grabbing Act if they have already applied for allocation of land under Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, the minister said.

Another amendment proposed was about the provision of appeals against orders issued by special courts constituted under the Land Grabbing Act. The minister said that now aggrieved persons can file an appeal in the High Court against the special court orders within 30 days, something which was not there in the present Act.

“Under the Land Grabbing Act, a total of 12,342 applications have been received, of them 818 requests relating to 1014.61 hectare land have been approved by the committee. Meanwhile, a total of 586 FIRs have been filed against 2,256 people,” said Trivedi.

The Assembly also passed the Gujarat Organic Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill on Friday, which proposed to rename Gujarat Organic Agricultural University as Gujarat Natural Farming and Organic Agricultural University.

The Gujarat Organic Agricultural University came into existence after the Assembly passed a bill in 2017, and is currently functioning from the Anand Agricultural University campus in Anand town.

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