Monday, June 24, 2024
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Parliament okays death penalty Bill for sabotage of pipelines

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New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed by a voice vote ‘The Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Amendment Bill, 2011,’ which provides the death penalty for acts of sabotage or disruption of pipelines.

Replying to Members’ suggestions on the Bill, earlier passed by the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Petroleum RPN Singh assured the House that stringent penalty of death sentence would be used for the “rarest of rare cases”.

He said pilferage often took place by organised gangs and the punishment was meant to deter them. Hence starting from six months punishment for a first time offender, the death penalty had been suggested. Most of the sabotage cases occurred in Assam, he said.

The country suffered a loss of Rs 16.04 crore on account of crude oil pilferage or sabotage and Rs 2.96 crore on petroleum products, he informed the House. Most of these incidents of pilferage took place in Haryana and Rajasthan.

The Minister said the word “wilfully” had been inserted as the pipelines being high pressure pipelines needed technology to sabotage. Caution was being taken due to the possibility of sabotage by Naxals and terrorists.

Agreeing that the owner should be adequately conpensated, the Minister said during acquisition of land, it would be looked into how to make farmers affected stakeholders after several Members suggested involving gram panchayats in monitoring the pipelines. He also acceded that the possibility of giving higher compensation for acquired land could be considered.

Earlier, Congress and the Opposition BJP were united in the House demanding rent or royalty to farmers whose land was taken away by Government or oil companies for laying pipelines.

The two political parties also demanded that security aspect of the pipelines passing through fields be given top consideration.

BJP Member Rajiv Pratap Rudy … picking up from para four, line one of Par 17 Petroleum RS.The BAC had on Tuesday decided to hold an additional three day sitting from December 27 but later several MPs opposed it, prompting the government to say it will have a rethink.

Several MPs, including from the UPA coalition, are still opposed to the three day extension of the session. Lokpal Bill was cleared last night by the Union Cabinet. The new Bill will be a Constitution amendment Bill which will also bring the Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal with certain riders.

The Bill, however, keeps the CBI out of purview of Lokpal except on cases which are referred to it by the latter. The Lokpal will have its own wings for preliminary inquiries and prosecution.

The Lokpal will be a nine-member body including the Chairperson. (PTI)

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