People's Democracy

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


No. 32

August 07, 2011



Stop Corporate Loot of Land: Krushak Sabha


THE office bearers of Odisha Krushak Sabha met in Bhubaneswar on August 1, 2011 to discuss on the burning issues faced by the peasantry in the state. Vijoo Krishnan joint secretary, All India Kisan Sabha attended the meeting. The meeting condoled the death of Comrade Baidyanath Majumdar and the martyrs in Bengal who were killed by the Trinamul-Maoist combine.


The meeting took certain important decisions on the following matters:




All the 30 districts in the state have been reeling under an unprecedented drought for the third year in succession and many regions have witnessed total loss of crops. Farmers are in a state of extreme distress. However, the state government has turned a blind eye to their plight and has not taken any steps to mitigate their suffering. Farmers are yet to get even the meager compensation announced for the year 2010-11 for crop losses due to unseasonal rain as well as drought. The OKS demands certain steps on an immediate basis to address this serious calamity. The entire state should be declared drought-hit. The government must immediately announce loan waiver for all affected peasants, free disbursal of quality seeds, provision of subsidised diesel, fertilisers and pesticides. A comprehensive food for work programme and special incentives to cultivators must be ensured. Construction of check dams, water harvesting structures, and efforts to replenish the existing water sources as well as provisions for canals, irrigation facilities, and drought resistant crops must be made over time. Crop insurance is also not being given by the insurance companies despite the government having declared that there were crop losses due to unseasonal rains. The OKS meeting also condemned the brutal lathi-charge on farmers at Junagarh, Kalahandi on August 1 who were protesting demanding extension of the time-frame for insurance.




Odisha has attained a notorious reputation for indiscriminate acquisition of large tracts of fertile land as well as forest land by the government on behalf of the corporate sector. Multinational companies and big capitalists like POSCO, Vedanta, Tata, BGR and others have been in the forefront of such acquisition. The whole of the Puri coast has been thrown open for the hotel industry in the name of tourism development totally disregarding environmental concerns as well as livelihood issues of fishing community and other dwellers in the area. The salt farmers who cover an area of 8300 acres in the state are also being displaced under different pretexts. In Khandadhar, Sundargarh district, POSCO has been allowed to take over large tracts of forest land for iron ore mining to feed their industry at Jagatsingpur. The rights of the adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers are being trampled and their livelihoods are being threatened. In Balasore, the proposed Kuldhia National Wild Life Sanctuary is expected to displace people living in over 50 revenue villages. The proposed BGR Thermal Power Project in Nayagarh will directly affect over 1050 families and around 925 acres are being acquired. Much of this area is multi-cropped fertile land. The impact of the project on environment and health of people is bound to be drastic. Similarly in Ganjam, a nuclear power project is being proposed despite the genuine concerns expressed by scientists and experts about the safety as well as fears of radiation related problems especially in the context of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. In Niyamagiri too there is the continued threat of acquisition of adivasi land for the Vedanta Project. The informed consent of the people has not been sought before any of these projects have been given and the government is acting as an agent facilitating corporate loot of land and mineral resources of Odisha. The OKS decided to demand a land use policy to ban conversion of fertile agricultural land and launch consistent struggles against land acquisition and displacement concentrating on these regions. Responsibilities have been distributed to different office-bearers to take forward the struggle.




The OKS was the only organisation to organise protests on the issue of homestead land to the landless and after repeated struggle, the government has re-issued on May 3, 2011 a notice for enumeration of homestead-less families in rural areas and is taking steps for disbursal of upto 10 cents of land for all the landless. However, the government has not moved an inch forward on this matter. Despite submission of claim forms by landless under the OKS leadership no action has been taken so far. The OKS will organise protests against the government inaction on this issue at all tahsildar and district headquarters in the state. Odisha also has over 73 lakh hectares of government land while there are over 30 lakh landless. While the government is doling out fertile land at very cheap rates to the corporate sector they are unwilling to give even homestead land to the landless. The OKS will launch an intense campaign on the issue of homestead land as well as for ensuring agricultural land for the landless peasantry. A Land Rights Day will be observed on these different land related matters to highlight the issue.