Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Protest action against land ordinance: Call to end "corporate loot"

By Our Representative
More than 350 organizations and networks of farmers, workers, and tribals from all the states of the country, represented by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the All Indian Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), the All India Kisan Sabha, the Narmada Bachao Andolan NBA), the Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union, Delhi Solidarity Group and others, participated in a well-attended protest action in Delhi against the Land Acquisition Ordinance, introduced in Parliament for enactment.
Following the protest action, NAPM said in a statement, “Despite a roaring protest at the Parliament Street by thousands of farmers, the overnment has introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to legislate this Ordinance. This is condemnable and undemocratic.”
Veteran anti-corruption leader Anna Hazare, who sat all day along with the activists of different movements, said that farmers and workers will have to prepare for a long-term struggle and should be prepared to even go to jail. He called for a nation-wide movement against “corporate loot of the land, which feeds the whole country.”
NBA leader Medha Patkar said the NDA government was refusing to act in accordance with the its electoral promises. “Now in power it is seeking to sniff away the soul of the Act, by removing the key provisions of consent and social impact assessment, and manipulating the definitions of private entities and public purpose”, purely to promote business interests”, she added.
Communist leaders Hannan Mollah and Atul Anjan spoke about the need for united movement and said that the BJP-led NDA government had brought the “draconian” Ordinance to suit the interests of the corporate, builders’ lobby and land mafia.
The NAPM statement said, other speakers “condemned the unparliamentarily ‘Ordinance Raj’ in every sector, be it land, coal, mining, insurance, motor vehicles and derided the governance through Ordinance mechanism, by-passing both Parliament and people.”
A representation to the Presidnet following the rally said, “We the undersigned organisations working among the Kisans, agricultural workers, Dalits, Adivasis, fishing community, rural poor and toiling masses are of the firm opinion that the Land Acquisition Ordinance is draconian Ordinance and goes against the basic interest of the farming community and all dependent on land for their livelihood.”
Saying that the amendment made in the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 is to “cater to the financial interests of corporate houses, land mafia and the builders’ lobby”, it added, “The MNCs that want to capture land of the Indian farmers through FDI are also very much behind this change in the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.”
Saying that the the Act of 2013 was brought as “a result of struggles across the country in which many farmers lost their lives facing the police bullets”, the representation said, “The UPA Government had to change the British Colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and an Act with few positive features, although not fully to our satisfaction was passed in the Parliament.”

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