New Delhi | Terming the Centre’s Land Acquisition bill as anti-farmer, the CPI today said it will organize nationwide protests against the legislation on May 14. In Delhi, senior CPI leaders will hold a rally at the Parliament Street near Jantar Mantar, while simultaneous protests will be organized in other parts of the country, it said.
We are going to organize the protests to mark our opposition to the anti-farmer bill. It will be an independent activity on part of CPI, party General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told PTI. We expect to get more response in states like Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra, he said. Reddy raised objections to Centre’s proposal to remove clauses mandating farmers’ consent and conducting social impact assessment before land acquisition from the 2013 Act introduced by previous UPA-II Government in this regard.
According to the Act, if land acquired remains unused for five years, then the same is required to be returned to the original owner. The NDA Government has eliminated this clause too, he observed. The leader expressed concerns over reduction in agricultural land by 7.24 crore acre since 1991 when India went for economic reforms. He suggested Government to use public land for setting up industries instead of fertile to ensure food security.
Instead of taking away peasants’ fertile land, the government can use 1.40 crore acres of the land available with it. There is three crore acre land available with the Waste Land Corporation which too can be used for developing industries, he suggested.
Reddy also said that measures must be taken to ensure industries share benefits with farmers whose land will be used for setting up factories. There is a misconception being spread that we are against industries. We are not. But our intention is to see justice is done to farmers, he added.
Meanwhile, the party said opposition to the bill will be high on its agenda for the Bihar assembly polls scheduled later this year. Reddy also added the issue of whether to have pre-poll alliance with the recently formed Janata Parivar, union of six offshoots of erstwhile Janata Dal, ahead of the election will be taken up later this month.
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