AIKMS will hold a protest dharna at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on Friday, April 24, 2015 from 11 AM against the New Land Ordinance issued by the BJP govt. It shall present a memorandum to the President of India to demand its withdrawal.
While the govt. is calling for increased Industrialization, existing industry is functioning at two thirds its installed production capacity with several industries lying closed, unable to produce as there are insufficient purchasers in the market. 63% of land acquired for SEZs is still lying unused. Production capacity of about 1 lac MW of Thermal Power Plants is lying unused due to lack of water and coal.
Rather than protect the peasants and help them, propping up the Indian markets and creating demand for industry, the Govt. is making laws to uproot peasants including tribals and hand over their land, water and mineral resources to MNCs and their Indian partners for easy and quick profits, better described as windfalls. Food crises, food inflation, hunger and destitution are rising. The Govt. policy is to attract dollar investments and cheat the people, especially the 70% hard working population living in rural areas (overwhelming majority of whom directly depend on agriculture and animal husbandry), exploit the unorganized cheap labour and plunder the natural resources of our country.
The dharna is being held in the face of a grave crisis facing Indian agriculture due to an intense onslaught against peasantry by the Govt. of India and its policies to serve the interests of foreign and domestic corporate. AIKMS demand is “Withdraw the New Land Acquisition Ordinance and changes made in the 2013 Law”, “No Forced Displacement”, “No land to MNCs”, “No Industry and Cities on Agricultural Land”.
AIKMS has been in the forefront of a countrywide campaign on these demands since 2005-06. Since then a number of uprisings of peasants including tribals began against forced displacement and handing over land and minerals to corporate. AIKMS welcomes the present widespread peasant protests taking place against the New Land Acquisition Ordinance which highlights the peasants’ sense of insecurity and opposition to this Govt. policy.
Very high prices of inputs including seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, implements and diesel, (which is highly taxed by the govt. in contrast to a higher subsidized Air Turbine Fuel), the crop produce fetching relatively low prices, failure to maintain and build irrigation canals and ponds leading also to decrease in recharge of water table and control of land by big landlords are precipitating the agricultural crisis. The helpless peasants are forced into suicides.
BJP is posturing as being pro peasantry. Its claim of amending LARR 2013 in order to build irrigation canals, rural houses and roads are absolutely hollow as land for this can be obtained easily with consent of peasants, from Gram Sabha and common lands. The compensations paid to the land owners will be at best 4 times the rate of agricultural land, which is 30 to 40 times less than the market rates after acquisition. While 500 acres of agricultural land can support most needs of as many families, industries on as much acquired land will offer only a handful of casual jobs of manual labour to the affected people. Modi govt’s drive for Land Acquisition to also build Thermal Power Plants and Smart Cities on agricultural land is to help growth of Builders, Real Estate Mafia and Corporate Houses.
While due to facing widespread struggles of peasants UPA was forced to make some changes in the British Land Acquisition Law, Modi Govt’s Ordinance resurrects the British Law of 1894.
Leaders from anti Vedanta Movement in Niyamgiri, anti Polararum Movement in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, anti Tata Movement in Kalinga Nagar, movements against Coal based Thermal Power Plants in Sompetta and Kakarapalli of AP and Bara, Karchana and Meja in Allahabad, anti Posco Movement in Jagatshingpur, movement against displacement in Nandigram and Singur in West Bengal, Gangavaram in AP, Bhatta Parsaul and Kanhar dam in Sonebhadra, UP, Jaitapur in Maharashtra and others in the states of Punjab have been invited to participate in the protest.