Skip to main content

Work out land use policy in India to "protect" farmers from corporate land transfer: Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan

By Our Representative
A two-day national meeting on November 19-20 at the Indian Social Institute, Delhi, with the participation of delegates from 22 states representing over 100 mass organisations has come for forward with the demand for a land use policy from the Government of India in order to “protect” farm land from large scale diversion to non-agricultural purposes like industry and infrastructure.
A statement issued after the meeting, organized under the auspices of the umbrella of Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), said such a policy should give “priority to the country’s food and livelihood security, focusing not only on irrigated multiple-crop land but also single-crop land in rainfed areas which form 60% of cultivated area.”
“Gram Sabha and panchayat should have control over the utilization of public lands and have an intrinsic role in development planning”, it said, adding, the government should respect provisions of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996.
Even as opposing the “dilution” of environmental laws based on the recent recommendations of the TSR Subramanian Committee, there is a need to work out a “a comprehensive strategy to address the shocking levels of agrarian distress in the country today.”
It said, “Over 3.2 lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995 at the rate of one farmer committing suicide every half an hour. The human tragedy is of a magnitude unheard of in the entire history of humanity.”
Against this backdrop, BAA demanded “income security for every agricultural household through a permanent Farmers’ Income Commission”, adding the minimum support price “should be declared at 50% above cost of cultivation in all 25 crops through procurement, market intervention and price guarantee.”
“The farmers’ seed rights should fully protected instead of handing over seed control to MNCs through intellectual property rights (IPRs) and genetically modified (GM) expansion into crops like brinjal and mustard”, BAA said, adding, “Comprehensive support is essential for shift from high-input chemical agriculture to low-external-input ecologically sustainable and rainfed agriculture.”
BAA, which was formed with the active intervention of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) during opposition to the now dropped controversial amendments sought by the NDA government to the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), 2013, decided to begin a protected struggle for its demands starting with a rally at Sansad Marg in Delhi on December 15, the forests rights day.
Among those who spoke at the meeting included NAPM’s Medha Patkar, Communist leaders Hannan Mollah and Satyavan, Ulka Mahajan of Sarvahara Jan Andolan, apart from well-known activists Ashok Choudhary, Prafulla Samantara, Dayamani Barla, Alok Shukla, Roma, Anil Chaudhary and others.
In separate resolutions, BAA extended support to the struggle of Karchana peasants against Jaypee Associates in Uttar Pradesh, and demanded release of 42 persons who have jailed; and condemned the Maharashtra government notification allowing easy conversion of agricultural land to industrial purposes, even as  demanding special compensation package to drought affected farmers.

Comments

TRENDING

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”

Cops' 'inability' to deliver justice? Model Gujarat ranks 12th among 18 major states

By Rajiv Shah
A Tata Trusts study, released in Delhi on Thursday, has ranked “model” Gujarat 12th out of 18 major states it has analysed across India to “assess” the police's capacity to deliver justice. Several of the advanced states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as some of the so-called Bimaru states such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are found to have ranked better than Gujarat.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

People's pressure? GPCB mining cancellation 'notice' to top cement unit in Gujarat

By Sagar Rabari*
Environmental Clearance (EC) was given to Ultratech Cement Co Ltd for limestone mining in villages Talli and Bambhor of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on January 5, 2017. EC was issued ignoring, overriding and undermining opposition from local farmers to mining activity in the area. The mining in these two villages covers an area of 193.3268 hectares (ha), while the entire project is spread over an area of 1,715.1311 ha.

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

NHRC notice to Gujarat chief secretary following silicosis deaths in Rajkot

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Gujarat chief secretary and the district magistrate, Rajkot, to respond to a complaint filed by health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, regarding the alleged death of Raju Prakash Parihar and two others reportedly because of silicosis, a fatal occupation disease, in Rajkot, one of Gujarat’s top cities.

Concern in UK over BJP supporters, Hindu charity 'interfering' in general elections

By Our Representative
Following apprehensions of “foreign interference” in Canadian elections, which took place last month, from several countries, including India, a similar a concern is now reported with regard to the next month’s United Kingdom general elections. The concern has particularly come from Labour Party candidates, who are citing campaign by “India-linked Hindu nationalist group” targeting Labour candidates.