BHUBANESWAR: The Centre is under tremendous pressure from the corporate sector to make the Land Acquisition Bill compatible to their interests social activist Medha Patkar said here on Saturday.
Speaking at a state-level convention of National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), Patkar called upon everybody to keep a close watch on the proposed Land Acquisition bill which could be tabled in August.
Patkar, who is the national convenor of NAPM, said, “We need an act on land rights Act, not on land acquisition. People have become victims of forceful land acquisition. We should not allow forceful land acquisition anymore.”
Due to the sustained campaign of NAPM, the Standing Committee realized that the government should not acquire land for any project promoted by private or public-private-partnership. However, under corporate pressure the government’s draft bill changed to allow land acquisition for such projects though with a rider that 80 per cent affected people have to agree, she said.
Patkar described the latest ethnic violence in Assam as unfortunate and called up on people not to fight over caste, creed or community. Referring to the ongoing agitation of Anna Hazare in New Delhi, Patkar said she supported Jan Lok Pal but her fight is not just against corruption. It is against corruption, violence, exploitation, she said.
Patkar also appealed to Maoists to shun violence and join democratic means of protest for their rights. “We adopt non-violence as a principle, not as a strategy,” she said. Western Odisha Krishak Sangathan convenor Lingaraj presided over the convention. Senior journalist Rabi Das, social activist Prafulla Samantara, among others, also spoke on the occasion.