People's Democracy

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


No. 40

October 06, 2013








Kisan Sabha Holds Land Reforms Convention


Awadhesh Kumar


THE Bihar state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) organised on August 30, 2013 a state level convention on the land reforms at the Vidhayak Club hall in Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Peasants, workers and leaders from all over state gathered in large numbers to participate in the convention, so much so that the meeting hall turned inadequate to accommodate the huge gathering.


It was in its 35th state conference, held at Bagusarai in June 2013, that the Kisan Sabha had taken a decision to call a convention in the state capital, Patna, to discuss the issue of land reforms and the agriculture road map announced by the Bihar government, and the convention was called in accordance with that very decision. One may note that, under the pressure of the feudal lords, the state government has put the recommendations of the D Bandopadhyay committee in the cold storage. As a result, over the decades, attacks on the landless people in order to evict them from their settlements on bhudan lands, government lands and ceiling surplus lands, being carried out by the nexus of the feudal lords, police force and the land mafias, have tremendously increased.


The clear understanding of the Kisan Sabha regarding the pronounced goal of Bihar government about an agriculture road map is that it would not be able to improve the conditions of the poor living in villages, without ensuring food security for them, without employment generation and without stopping the migration of agriculture labourers. All this requires sincere pursuit of the policy of serious and radical land reforms.




S Ramchandran Pillai (SRP), vice president of the All India Kisan Sabha, inaugurated the convention. In his inaugural speech he pointed out how the question of land emerged as a vital question. He then asked what happened to so many documents like the D Bandopadhyay committee’s report on land and the land reforms policy documents released by the government of India. In addition to that, the government of India has published an economic survey too, and according to all these papers Bihar now ranked first in poverty while Odisha was at this position earlier. He said that the percentage of the poor has reached 53 percent in Bihar while the national average of the poor people in 29 per cent. Today one can very well mark that the index of poverty too goes up as the landlessness increases. In the last two decades the proportion of landless peasants has reached 41 percent from the 22 percent earlier. The result is that a very large number of the rural poor are migrating out from their villages in search of jobs.


Pillai further said the rural development department of the central government has released a paper on land for debate in Lok Sabha. The D Bandopadhyay committee too had pointed out in its report much earlier that sufficient land is available in Bihar in the categories of ceiling surplus land, bhudan land, math (monastery) and mandir (temple) land, trust land, government land etc, but most of these are occupied by big landowners. If these lands are taken away from landlords and distributed among the landless people, each houseless person would get 10 decimals of land for housing and each landless peasant family would get one acre of land for tilling. The D Bandopadhyay committee suggested a reduction in the upper limit of ceiling on land. At the same time, the land reforms documents released by the central government have suggested that the ceiling should be fixed at 10 acres in case of irrigated lands and 10 to 15 acres in case of unirrigated lands. Likewise, ceilings should also be fixed in case of the lands in possession of maths and mandirs, and that it should not be more than one unit. Addressing the convention, SRP further said Lok Sabha had passed a Land Acquisition Amendment Bill only the previous day, i.e. on August 29, 2013, before which it was the law enacted by the British in 1884 that was in force in our country. A big movement was going on since long for a radical change in the British law but, the speaker said, the new law too would not be able to protect the interests of the peasantry. There are many sectors, including the railways, to which the law would not be applicable. One of the main demands of the Kisan Sabha was that fertile lands should be exempted from acquisition, but no attention was given to this demand in the said act. Nor was any attention given to the lands with which the issue of livelihood was connected; even the issue of landuse has been ignored in the new act. He then questioned how much good would come out from the recommendations or proposals if they cannot be implemented. In fact there must be launched a forceful movement to ensure their implementation. He then cited an example --- in Bihar there had been many reports including the Kumarappa report before the D Bandyopadhyay report came but none of these was enacted into a law. It was only where powerful movements were organised --- as in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura etc --- that land reforms were implemented. The organisation needs to launch a strong movement on the issue of land reforms by organising the poor, landless and houseless persons, the sharecroppers, marginal peasants and other working people. The Kisan Sabha has to work at two levels: (1) work for political propaganda on a large scale and (2) recruit volunteers for struggle from among the landless people.




After the inaugural address, Bihar state Kisan Sabha’s general secretary Awdhesh Kumar put forward some proposals which were unanimously passed by the delegates. These include the following:


1) Starting struggles to get the land ceiling law implemented in case of the batai, homestead, khasmahal, bhudan, diara lands etc.


2) Starting a movement for the occupation of lands possessed by parchadharis who have been evicted by the nexus of land mafias, landlords and police officers.


3) A powerful and sustained movement must by organised to get the recommendations of the Bandopadhyay committee implemented.


4) The demand for issuance of parchas in case of the occupied and possessed lands must be raised and pressed for.


Several delegates expressed their views at the convention and gave up to date reports of land struggle. They emphasised the importance of land liberation struggle and said it was the need of the hour. Those who spoke included Shyam Bharti (Darbhanga), Ashok Bharti (Rohtas), Devendra Pd Yadav (Sitamarhi), Dani Vidyarthi (Nawada), Gangadhar Jha (Samastipur), Md Osman (Begusarai), Ram Lakhan Yadav (Madhubani), Ram Briksha Pd (Gaya), Janardan Prasad (Nalanda), Chandsi Yadav (West Champaran), Bankimchandra Dutta (East Champaran), Bachcha Prasad (Saran), Giridhari Ram (Siwan), Krishnanandan Prasad Yadav (Gopalganj), Rajendra Pd Mahto (Saharsa), Santosh Paswan (Madhepura), Chandrabhash (Supaul), Karuna Gupta (Purnia), Karyanand Sharma (Jamui), Om Prakash Sharma (Patna) Jagdish Pd (Jahanabad), Shiv Keshwar Ray (Bhojpur), Ram Dular Singh (Kaimur), etc. In addition to them, delegations from Khagaria, Katihar, Vaishali, Aurangabad, Muzaffarpur and Buxar also attended the convention. All the speakers supported the proposals put forward by Awdhesh Kumar.


Veteran, octogenarian kisan leader Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi and Vijaykant Thakur also addressed the convention. All office bearers of the Bihar State Kisan Sabha (BSKS) --- Ram Deo Verma, Balram Sigh Yadav, Rajendra Pd Singh, Vinod Kumar Jha, Arun Kumar and Shyam Bharati --- were present on the dais. Lalan Pd. Choudhury presided over the convention.Awdhesh Kumar conveyed thanks to the delegates and participants.


The next task the convention decided about was how to review and remove the weaknesses of the earlier land struggles, and to identify one spot in every district to start the land struggle there and concentrate upon it.


N K Shukla, who earlier translated the speech made by SRP in English, delivered the concluding speech in the convention.


The convention put forward the following demands:


1) Declaration of the state as famine-hit.


2) Provision of free irrigation and electricity facilities to peasants.


3) Supply of drinking water, fodder and medicines in the flood affected area.


4) Waiver of old loans and land rent. Grant of compensation for the crops damaged by floods, at the rate of Rs 12000 per acre.


5) Creation of jobs for the workers and peasant in the flood-hit area.


6) Supply of free ration to the poor.


7) Formation of an all-party monitoring committee at each level in regard to relief work.


The convention decided that on the above demands the Kisan Sabha would organise a “Ghera Dalo, Dera Dalo” agitation at everyone of the district headquarters on September 24-25, 2013.