A GLANCE through the Land Acquisition Bill initiated by the Modi government shall show that if the 2013 Land Acquisition Act passed by the UPA government was a move to go ahead with land acquisition for transferring agricultural land to foreign and domestic corporate forces and land mafias, it is a blatant move for large scale land acquisition for the vested interests in the name of industrial and infra structural development. But the prime minister Modi and company are trying to justify this move against peasant interests and whatever food security this country has by alleging that all those who oppose him are indulging in a pack of lies and in a conspiracy to undermine farmers’ interests.
In the two days’ national executive meeting of BJP at Bangaluru the prime minister tried to reiterate that unlike the previous governments that worked for the rich, his government is working for the poor!. Within days the Rajya Sabha was prorogued and the land acquisition ordinance was re-issued, in spite of increasing resistance from vast majority of the peasants and various political forces.
What was the emergency to prorogue the Rajya Sabha, the majority of which had opposed the Bill and to impose an Ordinance, which is to be resorted to only in emergency conditions? This authoritarian action is only to please the foreign and native corporate forces and the land mafias who actually financed Modi’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. Otherwise why should BJP government bring these amendments to the 2013 Act which it had fully supported? If the original law stipulated a percentage of consent of the families of farmers (70-80%) whose land is being acquired, the present ordinance has added a new section (10A) increasing the number in the special category that are exempt from such consent requirements — industrial corridors and infrastructure projects, including projects under public-private-partnership. If the earlier law required a social impact assessment and review by an expert group and defined a bar on the acquisition of multi-crop agricultural land, now it is removed. If the earlier Act allowed the return of the acquired land if the award had been made five or more years prior to the coming into force of the 2013 law (i.e. any award passed on or before January 1, 2009) provided either compensation had not been paid or physical possession had not been taken, this provision is also reversed now. As a result, the amount of land that can be now acquired for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor alone is estimated to be a whopping 17.5% of our agricultural land.
In this situation, the peasantry and the progressive forces who are opposed to corporate- mafia raj has only one option before them: even if this draconian bill is adopted by the parliament or is imposed through re-issuing Ordinance, get mobilized to intensify the struggle to reject this whole move intended for intensifying neo-liberal, corporate raj.
In this context, based on the call from the Central Committee of the Party, in many of the states the party committees succeeded in organizing demonstrations, protest meetings, dharnas etc mobilizing the peasantry and other oppressed sections with the slogan: Scrap the Land Acquisition Bill. Party committees are active in the struggles waged by the oppressed masses in a number of places against the central and state governments which are taking away agricultural land under various pretexts, making all sections dependent on agriculture more destitute.
Let us intensify these campaigns and struggles in coming days uniting with all like-minded forces so that the Modi government is compelled to withdraw the present Bill.