People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXV

No. 47

November 20, 2011

No Unjust Land Acquisition to be Allowed: AIKC

 

MEETING at New Delhi on November 13 and 14, the All India Kisan Council (AIKC) of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) discussed the agrarian scenario in the country, with members from across the country highlighting the specific problems of the peasantry in their respective states.

 

The AIKC arrived at the conclusion that the agrarian crisis has further intensified under the Congress-led UPA. The UPA governmentís policies have led to an exorbitant increase in costs of agricultural inputs and unremunerative prices for the farmersí produce. The decontrol of fertiliser prices and ever increasing costs of petrol and diesel has added to the distress of the peasantry. Agriculture is increasingly becoming unviable. High inflation and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, foodgrains and the systematic dismantling of the public distribution system (PDS) have also pushed millions into a situation of extreme hunger. The peasantry is in a precarious condition due to recurring droughts and floods in different parts of the country. The AIKC condemned the insensitive approach of different governments in addressing this problem and compensating them adequately. It noted that MNCs are increasingly gaining stranglehold at the expense of the peasants and rural poor. Farmersí suicides have crossed a quarter million. Neo-liberal policies being implemented by the central government and various state governments are responsible for such a scenario. The central government has failed to mitigate the suffering of the peasantry and rural poor. The AIKC decided to further intensify struggles against the neo-liberal policies.

 

The AIKC deliberated at length on the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 and resolved that no unjust land acquisition and indiscriminate takeover of agricultural land would be allowed. The AIKS will present its position and objections on the bill before the parliamentary standing committee.

 

The AIKC paid its respects to departed leaders and martyrs. Rich tributes were paid to Comrade M K Pandhe (veteran leader the trade union movement and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member), Comrade Nizamuddin Khan (former president Assam State Kisan Sabha and CKC member), Comrade Jawahar Singh (vice president, Rajasthan State Kisan Sabha), Comrade Vinayak Gaikwad (vice president, Maharashtra State Kisan Sabha), Comrade Madhu Bag (former secretary, Murshidabad District Kisan Sabha), Comrade Jarnail Singh (state committee member, Haryana AIKS), and Comrade Joginder Shah who was killed in Madhepura district of Bihar for opposing corruption in the MGNREGA. The AIKC took some important decisions and charted a future course of action.

 

The AIKC also unanimously passed resolutions on certain important matters, including the MGNREGA and natural disasters.

 

One of its resolutions noted with concern the sharp rise in fertiliser prices and the serious disruption in their supply to farmers. The resolution said the policies of the government of India on fertiliser pricing serve the interests of private fertiliser companies and traders and black-marketers, both Indian and transnational, and are directly against the interests of the Indian peasantry and Indian agriculture. This has also led to serious shortage in fertilisers; artificial shortage is being created in some places to hike prices. Following the policy of decontrol of urea prices, and the implementation of the so-called nutrient based subsidy policy, fertiliser prices have risen rapidly. The price of urea, for instance, has gone up from Rs 4860 per tonne in April 2010 to Rs 5622, and with traders and black-marketers creating artificial scarcities, urea is selling in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh at as high a price as Rs 12,000 per tonne. The price of diammonium phosphate has more than doubled from Rs 9350 per tonne in April 2010 before decontrol of non-urea fertiliser prices, to Rs 19100 now. In fact, in just four months from April 2011, it shot up from Rs 10750 per tonne by Rs 8350. With artificial scarcity created by traders in some places, prices have gone up to 24,000 rupees per tonne. The price of muriate of potash has risen from Rs 4455 to Rs 6,300 per tonnes and is expected to go up to Rs 8500 soon. With increase in import prices, it can even go up Rs 10000.

 

The AIKC further noted that the UPA government, in its pursuit of neo-liberal policies it is cutting down fertiliser subsidies, even while giving the corporates huge tax concessions, and is killing the public sector fertiliser units. It is thus limiting the domestic production capacity that has mainly caused this crisis.

 

The AIKC asked all its units to mobilise and lead the peasantry in the fight against the rise in fertiliser prices and the disruption in supplies caused by traders and black-marketers encouraged by the neo-liberal policy regime. It demanded that the government roll back its policy of decontrol of fertiliser prices, restore and increase fertiliser subsidies, and enhance public investment in fertiliser production in order to increase domestic capacity and bring down costly imports.