People's Democracy

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


No. 26

June 26, 2011

UP Kisans on Struggle Path


Rajendra Sharma


WITH its two-day Kisan Padav (stay-in) at the administrative headquarters of the affected districts, the Uttar Pradesh unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has again picked up the thread of struggle against reckless and forced acquisition of agricultural land for huge commercial projects centred around the Yamuna Expressway. Post-Bhatta-Parsaul repression that left two peasants dead and dozens injured in police firing, this was the first major initiative to organise peasantry for protecting their interests.


The all-India president of AIKS and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, S Ramchandran Pillai, inaugurated the Kisan Padav at Mathura on June 17 in front of the District Collector's office at Mathura. The Padav, with participation of hundreds of ordinary kisans and rural poor, continued on June 18 despite untimely rains. Bulandshahar, Aligarh and Agra districts also saw similar Kisan Padavs. In Noida, a Kisan Padav could not be organised as authorities denied permission for the same.


D P Singh, president of the UP state unit of Kisan Sabha, explained that now that land acquisition for Yamuna Expressway was practically over, the main struggle is on the question of large scale land acquisition for commercial development projects. The idea is to develop the world’s largest city, running along the entire 165 km length of the new highway. In all, 1400 villages spread over seven districts have been notified for the purpose. These include 489 villages in two tehsils (subdivisions) of Mathura district.


In an effort to unify all the village poor who will get affected by the land acquisition process, the AIKS has formulated two sets of demands. For the land-losers, the Kisan Sabha has further concretised its demand of market rate and is also demanding pre-acquisition conversion of landuse and payments according to the market rate. Other demands are that a peasant must get a definite share in the profit earned on the sale of his land, in form of annuity or any other form, and that he must have full rehabilitation before his separation from his land.


On the other hand, for the landless and other people engaged in agriculture related work, the Kisan Sabha is demanding proper and not token compensation.


While inaugurating the Kisan Padav at Mathura, S R Pillai explained in detail these demands of the Kisan Sabha. Criticising the so-called new land acquisition policy announced by the UP chief minister, Ms Mayawati subsequent to the Bhatta-Parsaul confrontation, the AIKS leader called it a “cure worse than the disease itself.” Emphasising urgent need for radical changes in land acquisition law, including provisions for rehabilitation, Pillai emphasised that leaving the land acquisition process in the hands of corporates can only prove disastrous --- both for peasants and the country.


Beside the local Kisan Sabha leaders, UP Kisan Sabha president D P Singh and vice president Karmpal Singh also addressed the Kisan Padav at Mathura. District Kisan Sabha leader Digamber Singh presided.