CPI(M) to organise protests against Land Acquisition Act

Alleging that the ordinance promulgated by NDA government amending the Land Acquisition Act is "utterly anti-farmer and anti-poor", the Communist Party of India (Marxist) called for a broad-based and united struggle of all political forces against it here on Monday.

Hyderabad: Alleging that the ordinance promulgated by NDA government amending the Land Acquisition Act is "utterly anti-farmer and anti-poor", the Communist Party of India (Marxist) called for a broad-based and united struggle of all political forces against it here on Monday.

"CPI(M) units all over India have already started a struggle campaign against this black ordinance. The Central Committee calls for a broad-based united struggle of all political forces and mass organisations opposed to this onslaught on farmers' rights," a resolution adopted by the CPI(M)'s Central Committee at its ongoing meeting here said.

The CPI(M) Central Committee began its three-day session here with General Secretary Prakash Karat placing the 'Draft Review Report on the Political Tactical Line' in the morning, which is being discussed.

Condemning the "black ordinance", the CPI(M) called for widest mobilisation of farmers and the rural poor to force its reversal.

"The Modi government has shown its contempt for Parliament and democratic norms by adopting the ordinance route in its eagerness to satiate demands of corporates and foreign investors. The ordinance is both authoritarian in its method as well as utterly anti-farmer and anti-rural poor in its substance," the CPI(M) resolution said.

The ordinance has brought in a new Chapter 3A into the Principal Act of 2013, which expands the definition of public purposes by including five new sectors, while another amendment removes the necessity to get consent from farmers whose land is being acquired to set up private hospitals as well as private educational institutions, the resolution said.

"It does not differentiate between government and public sector projects and those in the private sector. Thus, in effect, it is even worse than the 1894 Act," the resolution said.

The government ordinance also exempts all these projects from the necessity of a social impact assessment (SIA), the resolution said.

The SIA is an important process for an impartial assessment of how much land is actually required for a project, how many families would be affected, as well as whether or not there is any alternative and so on, it said.

The ordinance also removed any limit on the period of time for which the land could be held by the company which has acquired it if, it has not set up the project, the resolution said.

"The 2013 Act had kept five years as the limit after which the land would have to be returned," the resolution said.

Alleging that the ordinance permits easy acquisition of multi-cropped land by excluding a large number of projects from the entire Chapter 3 of the Act of 2013 which deals with the subject, the resolution said that it would not only bring distress to farmers who enjoy a good income (when land is well irrigated), but would also have a negative impact on food security.

"The ordinance is thus totally against the interest of farmers. The CPI(M) had been critical of the earlier Act of 2013 for being inadequate in its protection of farmers and other project-affected sections. However, this ordinance eliminates even the protections which were included in the Act of 2013 after a struggle by farmers, their democratic organisations and the Left parties," the resolution said.

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