Activists and experts have called for a united fight against the aggressive anti-people’s policies on land acquisition by the present regime under Narendra Modi in a national conference – ‘Unraveling Regressive and Anti People Amendments to Land, Forest, Environment, Coastal and Other Laws’ organised by National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) held at Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi on July 9.
Also Read: Unrest in Jharkhand Against ‘Kaala Kanoon’ or New Land Law
Among the prominent activists who addressed the conference are Hannan Mollah, general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Medha Patkar, founder member NAPM, T Peter, general secretary of National Fishworkers Federation, Prafulla Samantara, Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj and other activists.
Hannan Mollah pointed out how the central government led by BJP has brought changes in the The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Land Acquisition Act, 2013), in a deceptive manner by allowing amendments by various state governments when it failed in numerous attempts to remove the progressive aspects of the law. “Land Act, 2013 was the result of continuous struggles by peasants. However, as soon as the BJP came to power in 2014, it attempted to remove various aspects such as social impact assessment (SIA), consent, etc., in the law, but failed due to nationwide protests,” he said.
Also Read: Protest Against Salem-Chennai Green Corridor Continues, NHAI Initiates Acquisition Processes
Furthermore, Mollah questioned the government’s intent in announcing new Minimum Support Prices (MSP) just nine months before the next general elections. he said “the government’s claim that it increased the MSP to 1.5 times the cost of production is misleading as it did not consider the C2 formula (propounded by M S Swaminathan commission), instead used A2+FL formula which does not cover the total production cost.” He added that AIKS as part of All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has given protest call on July 14 demanding the government to call for a special parliament session exclusively on agriculture.
T Peter said that the coastal lands in the country on under threat of being given away to tourism and corporate industries at the cost of livelihood of fisher folk communities. “The recent amendments with respect to Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) notification by the Modi government has systematically excluded the traditional and customary rights of fishing communities” he said.
Also Read: 19,000 People Detained in Jharkhand During Protest On Land Bill
Medha Patkar spoke about how various state governments through their land laws are bypassing consent provisions, SIA, local bodies participation, etc., to further corporate interests. “Andhra Pradesh government betrayed farmers by using the system of Land Pooling instead of acquisition. Similarly the Gujarat government is using land pooling for creating Dholera Smart City, 150 kilometers from Ahmedabad. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have brought other ways to take away land from the people under the name of Consent Land Purchase Policy,” she said.
Patkar added that in order to tackle the assault of the government, all the progressive organisations fighting for people’s rights must lead united struggles against the threat of unjust land acquisition.