The present governments, both state and central on the pretext of Covid epidemic, have hurriedly begun promulgation of anti-farmer and anti-worker policies and laws bringing untold misery to the poor and disadvantaged people of the country. In the name of planned lockdowns, sealdowns, quarantine measures these unfortunate people are exposed to the deadly Covid epidemic. The recently announced ‘revival of agriculture’ package has fully supported industrial corporatization of agriculture through amendments of APMC Act and Electricity Act to a rigorous implementation of the monster economy. The latest in this onslaught is the Amendment of Land Reform Act 1961 by the Government of Karnataka which has totally let down the progressive and pro-farmer aspirations by mercilessly deleting Section 79 (a), 79 (b), 79 (c) and Section 80.
This has sadly paved the way for snatching away of agricultural lands from farmers by non-agricultural entities including rich businesses and corporate bodies, among others. Section 63, which protects farmer families with less than 5 persons to own up to 108 acres of land and up to 216 acres for households with more than 5 members under the social justice of Land to the Tiller, is being mutilated to the most unjust ‘Land to only the haves’ paradigm of neo-zamindari system thereby destroying the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers.
Introducing this draconian law has again obliterated the dreams and aspirations brought out by 1974 Land Reform goals conceived by Devaraj Urs. Under the new corporate-driven neo-zamindari system a monstrous industrial farm policy with mono-cropping regime, wanton use of chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides will, without a doubt, lead to rapid degradation of land and its support resources including ground water and environment leading to imminent desertification.
Our rich and diverse food systems will be usurped by those promoting and investing in ‘five-star’ business culture leading to destruction of natural farming traditions which have always provided food and nutritional security for the masses for ages. More importantly, the government’s new amendments will deleteriously affect the health of people by way of poisoned soil system, degraded farm diversity giving raise to pestilence, new zoonotic viruses, among others. Gram Seva Sangh vehemently opposes these amendments and strongly urges to withdraw them without delay. Gram Seva Sangh strives and hereby gives a fervent call towards a fair and just distribution of land to landless and shelter for the homeless, and work towards a pro-people, pro-life and environment-friendly sacred economy and usher in a new era of Grama Swaraj.
- C. Yathiraju
President, Gram Seva Sangh
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