Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A nexus between land and food

Prime minister Mr.Manmohan stated that we need second green revolution to feed our people despite the nation produced record level of 241 million tones of food grains in this year and he said that 2% of growth per annum is required to meet the food needs of growing population. Indeed, we should preserve our agriculture land for the same what prime minister said, ironically the Indian farm land has reduced by 0.43 percent to 182.39 million hectares in last five years and we know that the government has been forcibly acquiring the farm lands in the name of development. If India loss its cultivable land for non agriculture purpose… imagine how the 1.20 billions of people grapple for food, we already importing the pulses and oil seeds for our needs. A typical Indian family is spending 30-60 percent of their income for food alone; if we don’t conserve the farm lands then the food expenditure will be more for Indian house hold.

Recently Mr. Rahul Gandhi protested against NOIDA, Agra Highway farm lands acquisition, he said that he is going to introduce the revised land acquisition act in parliament which is going to favor for farmers. Personally I welcome his substantial statement. He should visit more villages, meet more farmers to get more knowledge on farmers’ perils. The policy makers’ talks a lot about farmers’ issues in accordance to the situation and events… but we know the UPA 2 government’s economic model i.e. fast industrialization….the people income levels will be increased, eventually the living standards and purchase power will be more. Yes of course, being a progressive thinker, I too support industrialization but agriculture is important too. The thing is who is going to cultivate the land and where is the land to cultivate if the cultivable land is being transformed to industrial purpose?? A recent study says that a typical Indian family is spending 30-60 percent of their income for food alone, if we don’t conserve the fertile farm lands, definitely the food is going to be very expensive for Indian house hold.

As we know that governments are forcible acquiring thousands of acres of land for industries in the name of development i.e. in Noida & Agra in Utter Pradesh, Ambala in Haryana, Mansa in Punjab, Singur in West Bengal , Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Mangalore & Sullia in Karnataka, and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. When the governments are trying to convert the fertile lands to non agriculture usage, they should have a responsibility to develop or conserve the fertile lands elsewhere as part of replacement which is not happening, where as in USA… being a largest agriculture land holder; it’s still spending millions of dollars to conserve the cultivable land. Being a developing a nation and having a large population, we need to develop and secure the farm lands.

The proposed land acquisition bill must be included with not only the resettlement and rehabilitation of the displaced public but also the developing and securing the agriculture lands and environmental resettlement. The existing National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy is not giving full fledged support the affected people, it’s failed to restore the lives of dislocated people and they are not receiving the decent, sufficient compensation for their lands, farmers voices have stifled and the governments are using police power to restrain their demands, for that’s the reason only the rural India become violent. The practical studies are not conducted in scientific manner, the government officials are corrupted and the reports are being prepared in favor of construction / power companies. When ever the superior courts intervened then only the feasibility studies are conducting in democratic and scientific manner. (Ex. Court intervention is Sompet -Andhra Pradesh wetlands issue).

I hope the future Land acquisition bill would be beneficial to displaced farmers, let us see how Mr. Rahul Gandhi stands on his promise.