"A kind of technology which will not damage soil fertility, a kind of technology which will not increase plant diseases, a kind of technology which will not damage biodiversity and introduce monocultures. This can be an alternative". Prof.Nanjundaswamy
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Thursday, September 13, 2012
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers
Nagar, Bangalore -5600098. Karnataka.
13th September, 2012.
Land is Life.
South Indian farmer’s response to
the Land acquisition bill( LARR bill 2012)
At this point, people’s
movements of SICCFM are not willing to enter into discussions on the details of
compensation and rehabilitation packages because we do not agree with the
fundamental premise of this bill. This
bill seeks to handover our farmlands to private corporations in the name of
“public purpose”. The wording of this bill is so deceptive that almost anything
could be construed as a public good and it falsely seems like farmers have
become partners in India's corporate development.
But as farmers and poor rural
people we ask - what purpose will be served to our communities and our
development by a private hospital or university which we cannot afford, a
luxury hotel, a golf course or a formula one race track, a multi-lane highway
where a company will collect toll tax for 36 years while we have no roads in
our villages, or a mine that kills our forests and destroys our health? Most
importantly, we ourselves have the right and ability to decide what is good for
our development and demand that our own local institutions – gram sabhas give
their full consent and decide whether a project constitutes our development and
public purpose. We cannot accept some random figure of 80% consent or
“consultation” as an excuse for democracy.
Just because corporations are
complaining about higher costs to their projects does not in anyway mean that
the bill is automatically good for the farmers. In fact the cost of such a bill
will be even steeper for India's rural communities and our nation’s ability to
feed itself. At this time our nation is
reeling under coalgate scam, 2G spectrum scam, paid media scam and under no
circumstances can we be fooled once again to let the government act as our
trustee or custodian because history and facts have proven otherwise.
Moreover the government has
already acquired thousands of acres of lands that are lying idle all across the
country. The government has all kinds of land banks everywhere. These lands
were taken from farmers previously and now have not been used or illegally
converted to some other use. In many cases farmers are yet to see any
compensation. Rehabilitation has not been received by millions of Indians
displaced by corporate development. Why then are we making a law to carry out
further acquisitions? What about using the land already taken and fulfilling people’s
dues from the past first?
Lastly, what is the use of such
a bill when it is planning to exempt 13 out of 16 laws that acquire lands such
as SEZ act and mining act? This trend of farm land grabbing and diversion of
water to industry is legally ongoing all over the country. This is having a
direct bearing on our ability to produce food. In the case of just one project,
the Yamuna expressway alone we will lose the ability to produce 100,000 tonnes
of food grain a year. Thousands of acres
are earmarked to be acquired in all the fertile food producing states of
India. When 50% of our children are
malnutritioned and our hunger levels are worse than the poorest countries of
Sub Saharan Africa, our government should be acquiring land for food security
and not rampant industrialization.
Given this situation we do not
agree to give our lands unless it is for real public purpose decided by us.
Here are our current demands:-
1.Suspend all ongoing land
2.Bring out a white paper of all
the past land acquisitions nationally and what is being done with that land
3.We demand a national level
debate on “public purpose”
4.A complete ban on acquisition
for private corporations
These demands were formed on 9th
Sep in Bangalore where SICCFM has held an open discussion on the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement bill(LA&RR bill) along with many farmers’ organizations and allies.
Farmers Movements on the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and
Rehabilitation Bill (LARR) 2012
The MoRD may have
accepted some suggestions from the people and the Parliamentary Standing
Committee (PSC) report which we support and contributed to, but we are still
fundamentally opposed to the spirit of the LARR bill in its current form. It is
using the language of transparency and compensation to allow the government to
take people's land in the name of public purpose and then hand it over to
private industries. We understand that the PM has referred the LARR bill to a
Group of Ministers after opposition from key ministers who want to push for
land acquisition for private parties. Also media sources have revealedthe MoRDs intention to make the bill
"more investor-friendly". It is shameful that the government is
trying to appease the industry and permanently establish itself as the land
broker for corporate players. What is needed today is a land law that is pro
peoples development, improves food security and prevents climate change.
We cannot accept the
falsity that corporate profit is good for the masses of India. Corporate profit
is not public purpose. Projects that are geared towards elite consumerism –
even if PPP ventures are not “public purpose”. Steel plants, formula one race
tracks and elite housing complexes are not public purpose but highly profitable
ventures. Multi lane highways are not benefiting us- why are no roads being
built in the villages instead?We stress
that local government – gram sabhas and basti sabhas should give full consent
to decide if a certain project is public purpose or not- merely consulting them
is not enough.
As farmers we ask- who will feed the nation?Are we planning to kill our farmers or turn
them into unemployed or laborers and then import food from corporations abroad?
Is it sensible for our country to set up policies that will undercut our own
ability to feed ourselves? Why are we still a nation with the most shameful
hunger and farmer suicide statistics? It makes no rational sense to allow
government acquisition of any kind of agricultural land for industrial
purposes. Millions of acres of agricultural land are also acquired and
converted to industrial purposes under up to 13 other acts that are exempt from
the provisions of LARR. Such type of land acquisition is a threat to our
national food security. All such acts such as SEZ's, mining, railways and
others should be brought under this one act. It is pitiful that the government
is showing such desperation to industrialize and not the same urgency to feed
our people and stop farmer suicides. We strongly demand implementation of the recommendation of the
parliamentary standing committee to not acquire any type of agricultural land
(single or multi cropped).
Although proper compensation is a very important issue
for us, so is proper rehabilitation. Waving money at farmers and then
destroying their livelihoods is not acceptable. Proper rehabilitation which
means an alternate sustainable livelihood and land for land must be provided. This
too must be monitored and implemented by the gram and basti panchayat.Also those who have already suffered due to
previous displacements and not yet received rehabilitation mustreceive it. The new law should apply to them
all. We also demand that all ongoing acquisitions be stopped unless and until
the new law that reflects peoples true development needs comes into being.
We cannot accept the
violent method in which governments have responded to our genuine protests. We
condemn the recent arrests of hundreds of farmers by the MP government in
Anantapur who were legitimately trying to protect their livelihoods and lands.
Instead of entering into serious dialogues the government just lathi charged
and jailed us.
We would like to
state that we are not against industrialization as many have tried to portray
us as backward and anti development. We are not against a development or
industrialization which will provide sustainable livelihoods to our people,
which will give us education, health and food in our communities or roads in
our villages. But we are definitely against such a development model which
prescribes rampant industrialization without considering the well being of the
masses and in fact causes inequality, dispossession and climate change. We
cannot discuss any land law without discussing its impact on overall
development – they both go hand in hand.
We will be organizing
a meet of many farmers organizations in Bangalore on 9 September to further
analyze this act and discuss our future course of action.
We demand a national debate on public
We support a new legislation to replace
the colonial land acquisition act. But, we cannot accept a bill which will
be an effective tool to grab farmers land for private profit and urbanization.
We demand a ban on acquisition for private projects.
Bhartiya Kisan Union
Vijay Jawandhia, Shetkari Sangh,
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha
Kerala Coconut Farmers Association(
Tamil Nadu Farmers Association,
South Indian Coordination Committee
of Farmers Movements (SICCFM)
For more information
please contact:- S
Kannaiyan, SICCFM: +91 9444989543