Chennai: In continuing war of words with his arch-rival over the NDA Government’s land acquisition bill, DMK President M Karunanidhi on Monday disputed AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa’s stand that the legislation vested more powers in states in granting exemptions.

Responding to Jaya’s statement in which she said her party supported the bill as it gave more powers to states, Karunanidhi also questioned AIADMK mooting an amendment against land being acquired for private educational institutions and hospitals, saying land had never been acquired for these under an Act in the state.

While there was no such practice in the state, he wondered how AIADMK could have proposed such an amendment and the BJP government accepted it.

While the present bill allows states to ‘consider’ exempting social impact study for five kinds of projects, it also says that the minimum land requirement should be factored in before notification and a record of unused land must be kept, “but does not explicitly mention that states have been given more powers,” he said in a statement here.

“Further, it is widely being reported that the BJP’s land acquisition bill cannot be challenged in courts… The authoritarian act does not require the consent of land owners (and) action cannot be taken so easily against erring officials. Will Jayalalithaa respond to these?” he asked.

Karunanidhi also referred to the criticism by noted activists Anna Hazare and Medha Patkar besides some allies of BJP against the land bill.

Responding to Karunanidhi’s charge that AIADMK was adopting double standards on the issue, Jayalalithaa had accused him of trying to find imaginary reasons for her party’s support to the land bill and trying to link unconnected matters.

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