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Friday, August 29, 2008

Respect Farmers!

The agitation in Sigur against allotment of land to TATA for building Nano Car Factory has brought industrialists and farmers at crossroads. The investors are interpreting the things in their own way and people around there have their own issues. But in-between a positive side is that it has highlighted the plight of farmers who frequently lose their farmland by the drastic means of land acquisition laws.

First, Please don't see Singur things in isolation. This is not the first time when this 'fundamental right' of farmers is getting violated. Singur is the symbol of the injustice to GRAB the LIFE of farmers going in abated since the withdrawal of fundamental right on property. I would accept the legal instrument by the means of which Government grabs the agriculture land, if you accept the logic of demolishing the factories to cultivate crops in that land? Will anyone accept this argument? No, industrialists would fight tooth and nail to strike down the very concept of creation of such an instrument. Does not it symbolize double standards to two fellow citizens one of which is getting deprived of his that land which is nothing less than life for him and the other fellow citizen is enjoying not only his property but also getting more property from fellow citizens. This is injustice. More it is not acceptable in the Modern India for which our first PM defined as industries are temples of modern India. Mind it temples are never build in graveyards and force able land acquisition is nothing but making graveyard of farmers.

Second, I object treating Mr. Ratan Tata as a villain to make the news items catchy. Mr. Ratan Tata has made India proud by his contribution. He is a prized citizen to this nation. It is unfortunate that till date BHARAT RATNA has not been awarded to him. He is building the plant because Government allotted that land to him. He was instrumental neither in abolishing the fundamental right to property nor in senseless use of it by politicians. The same politicians who committed these blunders are staging DHARNA before TATA factory. This is cheap politics to win the votes of the farmers even after duping farmers of everything.

Perhaps agriculture is the last profession in which a youngster would be interested in the country, where majority meet their end meet by agriculture. India allots a royal share in budget in the name of agriculture each year, still she needs to allot thousands crore of rupees to wave-off their loans. India is the country where lakhs of farmers have committed suicide for professional misery. Agriculture is not holding a status of industry. Indeed it cannot with the famers sentiments attached to their land, to whom it is better to die to lose land. Indian farmers grow so much that demand-supply equation fails and Government has to put ventilator of minimum support prices. The farmers don't have guarantee to practice their profession, agriculture, in their own fields as Government holds right to grab their land by the means of Land Acquisition Laws. The government also holds right to restrict the choice of selecting buyer to their produce by banning exports.

If practicing agriculture is so tough, then who will grow to feed the nation? Who will promote their sons and daughters to remain in agriculture? Is this not a fact that majority of Indians practice agriculture because they are farmers by compulsion not by choice? If this question holds water, then the situation is alarming for the nation. Irrespective of the tough life, each year farmers produce more than what they have produced previous year. Their silent cry needs our attention and the nation needs to do more than chanting Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan slogan.

In many pockets of our territories there is plenty of land in our country which is not suitable for agriculture. Then why agriculture land is always found suitable to get acquired and allotted for industrial use? In my opinion this is a great subject matter of investigation and I promise to the investigators there is a lot find and to expose!!

The changing use of agriculture land into non-agriculture land should be a crime. Civilization can sustain without any industry but cannot survive even for a day without grains which come out of agriculture. This is a selfish but strong argument in support of farmers and agriculture without deviating or disrespecting Pt. Nehru's vision to treat Industries as temples of Modern India. A stronger argument is that agriculture is lifeline of around 70% population of India. No Government can provide equally arable land to farmers in compensation to acquisition to their farmland in a country where occupation of majority of population is agriculture. But can certainly develop pockets of land not suitable for agriculture as industrial zones. The monetary compensation to agriculture land acquisition is injustice and inhuman treatment to our fellow citizens whom the Constitution still guarantees the right to equality. It is so because mostly small and marginal farmers after losing their land become landless unskilled labourers. Agriculture is a noble profession and loosing it and then to work as landless labourers is perhaps dying each moment instead of dying for once. Small farmers cannot afford to do anything else but agriculture. India is a country of public ballot and it is surprising to notice insensitivity towards farmers.

Please respect farmers. Respect their hard work to feed all of us. Respect them as equal citizens. Respecting farmer is respecting the nation. Perhaps that is why Late Lal Bahadur Shastri, Former Prime Minister, gave the slogan, "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan". The implementation of this slogan by spirit has the potential to make the nation AYAI (invincible), so please take it seriously.

1 comment:

Sargam said...

hmmm... Its getting interesting in here. Well, for starters, farmers are good, but industry is equally good. We should not forget that people around the world never knew us till we carried an agrarian society tag, but now, the developing world is good enough for everyone. So, primarily its a fight between reality and morality.

Farmers are suffering, true, but making an industry suffer is also true. What is it? Is it the farmers' fault? Nope! The fault is of Politicians. Those poor illiterate people don't even know what they're doing. Tata on the other hand is not an enterprise which would exploit those poor people. But still, who is getting exploited? Farmers!

The laws are in place, and being in the infrastructure sector myself, I know that the laws are not at all balanced, but to everyone's surprise, they're not against farmers, but they're against industrialists. Surprised? Have a look at the recent amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, or the recently introduced Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill, 2007 in Parliament. The laws are against development.

but then, from the farmers' perspective, these amendments are good; not because they would provide various ancillary facilities and perks to the farmers, but because they bring in the concept of 70-30. Now onwards, any industry would privately have to acquire 70% of the land on its own before it may acquire the rest 30% through government mechanisms. So, is it good?

Let the farmers' will prevail, and India would get back to its agrarian society. No more development. So be it. What is required is not saving the farmers' land merely, but getting them better equipments to raise better crops, hybrid seeds, etc. Politicians would fuel the fire to get riots done, but once in power would they get these farmers those amenities. No, they never would.

So, I'm not against the laws, property needs to be acquired for good, but the Government should see to it that land can be made more arable. Industry also needs the same raw materials that farming requires- water, electricity, labour, etc. So, the fight is for the same land. If industries could have been set in Jaisalmer, people would have done that decadeds ago, but its impossible. So, its all about prioritization and a li'l less politicization.Farmers are right, but industrialists are also not wrong.