People's Democracy

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


No. 27

July 08, 2012




CPI(M)ís Demands for Nagri Peasants


ON June 29, the Jharkhand state secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) urges immediate intervention of the Arjun Munda government of the state for rehabilitation and resettlement of about 500 poor peasant tenants of Nagri in Ranchi district.


It also demanded that the state government must submit a petition before the Ranchi High Court for grant of stay on operationalisation of its earlier order to begin construction work on the acquired land at Nagri for a law university.


It may be noted that in 1958 the then state government of Bihar had acquired 227.71 acres of mostly tribal land at Nagri in Kanke block of Ranchi district, affecting a total of 153 tenants. A majority of 128 tenants at that time actively opposed this acquisition and refused to take compensation.


The state government did not use this acquired land during the last 54 years and about 500 peasant descendants of the tenants continued to keep the land in their possession and cultivate it. They depended on it for their livelihood.


Now after 54 years, however, the state government suddenly woke up to establish their right on the land for construction of an IIM, an IIT and a law university on this land. The Ranchi High Court passed order for forcible removal of these peasants treating them as encroachers and for early construction of the law university on this tribal land. The Supreme Court refused to admit the SLP filed on behalf of the land losers.


The state unit of the CPI(M) has been of the opinion that this British made antiquated Land Acquisition Act 1894 has been anti-peasant and ensures no legal right for the tenants. The party has therefore demanded its amendment. Two bills before the parliament --- the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2007 and the associated Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill 2007 --- were allowed to be lapsed and replaced by a new one --- The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 --- which is now pending before the parliament.


Land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement have been accepted as a composite principle. It is in this context that the CPI(M)ís demand for rehabilitation and resettlement of Nagri peasant tenants and maintenance of status quo ante regarding the acquired land are justified. It is the state governmentís responsibility to act on that basis, taking all parties on board, and move the Ranchi High Court for protecting the peasant tenantsí rights.