People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 29, 2007
Preparations On For Direct Action On Land issue
M Venugopala Rao
THE Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers’ Union (APAWU) organised a state convention of mass organisations at Sundarayya Vignanan Kendram in Hyderabad on April 18, 2007. The convention unanimously resolved to wage a united phased struggle on land issues. B Venkat, general secretary of the APAWU announced that around 180 mass organisations extended their support to the struggle for distribution of arable land and house sites to the poor. The convention put forth a charter of ten demands on land issues and decided to wage united struggles to achieve the same. Despite the pressure brought on the state government in different forms during the struggle, if it does not take necessary measures to resolve the land issues, all the mass organisations would lay seize to the government offices in the month of May and resort to direct action from May 15 onwards to occupy arable lands and house sites, the resolution said.
The convention condemned the approach of the state government to hand over vast extents of land to the rich and the influential people all in the name of distribution of land. The convention demanded the government to take over all types of assigned and government lands from the rich, announce a list of lands alienated and cancel the proposed amendment to the Assignment Act of 9/77 which is intended to regularise such lands in the possession of the rich.
The convention demanded the government to distribute about 60-70 lakh acres of thirty types of lands in the state as identified by the mass organisations and represented to the chief minister, Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. It demanded the government to give pattas to the poor on the lands they had been cultivating over a long period and to give the land to the beneficiaries who were given just the pattas only. All the eligible people should be given house sites and demolition of huts and houses of the poor and their forcible evacuation by the police should be stopped forthwith and pattas should be given to them on those house sites. The convention demanded the government to set up a land commission with special powers for a comprehensive distribution of land and house sites and create a ministry of land as in West Bengal. It demanded the government to amend the legislations which have been a hindrance to distribution of different types lands and distribute it to the poor. For speedy disposal of cases relating to lakhs of acres of land, a special bench of the High Court should be set up. The convention demanded the government to implement the judgement of the High Court to give full compensation for the assigned lands and withdraw the appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the government against the judgement of the High Court. Share croppers should be given identity cards and all types of loans by the banks. Coconut trees belonging to the government in delta districts should be given to the poor on lease. Arable land should not be allotted to SEZs, projects, industries and for other such programmes. Where acquisition of land is inevitable, it should be done only after an employment package to the agricultural workers is given, besides giving employment to one person in each family. All the dues of land loans given to the poor by the SC Corporation should be waived fully.
The convention, as a part of the proposed phase-wise struggle, resolved to seek the support of political parties, MPs and MLAs and hold conventions in the districts, RDO centres and mandal headquarters and bring pressure on the people’s representatives to discuss the land issue. The resolution of the state convention would be submitted to the governor, the CM and others concerned in the government and discuss the issues with them. Postcard campaign addressing the CM will be organised giving details of lands to be distributed. Similarly, a postcard campaign will be conducted requesting the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to do justice to the poor in the cases pending.
A list of the lands of the poor and the government encroached by influential people was given. Memoranda with signatures from different districts will be sent to the CM requesting the taking over the encroached lands. P Somayya, president of APAWU presided over the convention. Leaders of different mass organisations, retired IAS officers, intellectuals and others addressed the convention, expressing their support to the struggle on the land issue. (INN)