NAGPUR: Social activist Medha Patkar’s National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) has demanded a detailed discussion on the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011. “Not a single stretch of agriculture should be acquired to set up industries,” Patkar told the media on Wednesday.
Patkar said that NAPM would oppose the bill tooth and nail by launching a massive movement across the country. Rallies would be organized in November, said the social activist.
“We are not happy with the 80:20 land acquisition ratio. We strongly feel that unless absolutely necessary, land should not be acquired,” Patkar said.
“Around 80,000 hectares of land belonging to the Maharashtra Industries Development Corporation (MIDC) is lying unutilized since many years. It should be taken up for development projects. Irrigated land is a long term investment for food security and employment. It should not be taken up at any cost,” she added.
“In our state, the government has been smoothly acquiring farm land under the MIDC Act. Other states do not have such acts. The NAPM believes that gram sabhas should be consulted before any decision is taken,” Patkar suggested.
“We are against the land bank proposal. It was Paschimbanga chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s idea to seize and retain acquired land in case the party concerned fails to utilize it,” said Patkar.
She expressed confidence that the Jan Lokpal Bill, now being studied by a Parliamentary Standing Committee, would definitely come into effect with public support. “We want a strong Lokpal Bill, something which can keep political interferences at bay,” Patkar added.
Patkar also urged people to keep a close watch on the progress of the Jan Lokpal Bill. “I appeal to people to form teams and visit colleges, offices and localities to create awareness about the bill. We are forming sub-committees that will meet party leaders and create awareness about the Jan Lokpal Bill,” she said.
Later, Patkar participated in a guidance camp organised by India Against Corruption and discussed the future course of action on the Jan Lokpal Bill agitation.