Land reforms at current juncture
Response of media and civil society organisations
Round Table meeting
11th November, 2011 10:30 a.m to 1: 30 p.m SVK, Hyderabad
Greetings from Bhumikosam- Ikya Sanghatana
We believe that you are aware of the present status of implementation of Land reforms in our state as well as country. The present trend can be generally termed as reverse land reforms process where in, instead of making agricultural, residential and common use land available for majority of the people, the lands are being taken away from the small and marginal holders and making impossible for the landless to have land in the future. Agriculture lands as well as commons from which majority of the landless poor draw their livelihood are being appropriated by few individuals and corporate companies and their use is being changed on the name of development and employment generation.
In Andhra Pradesh too the trend is similar as seen from the non implementation of KRR committee recommendations as well as many pro-poor land reforms legislations on one side and adoption of land alienation policies in a big way on other hand. The communities are being displaced from their lands and resources both directly and indirectly. Directly on the name of industrial/ employment/development polices. Many cases of land alienation in this form expose the insensitivity with which the state has behaved with its own citizens and betrayed them. Land alienation is also happening indirectly by way of agricultural and urbanisation policies that are making agriculture and land holding unviable for the marginal producers. Also the aspirations among various generations are varying. Majority of the young generation seem to be not interested in Agriculture and the old forms of land use. Building on this situation, Governments are posing a trade off between employment of youth and land holding of the other generations as well as other land less sections.
With the present neo-liberal policies, the land now has become a valuable commodity or an asset having speculative value or that earns dividends/rent or returns rather than a source of livelihood. From primary form of engagement like agriculture, livestock, fisheries, collection of food, fodder, fuel etc., and for bona-fide livelihoods, the interaction with the land and related resources has been rapidly moving towards commoditisation/commercial exploitation and as a means of high profit generation for few people. These policies are leaving majority of the marginal producers land less, asset less, work and worthless and totally making dependant on other dominant sections/governments for their survival. In this scenario, traditionally landless classes particularly dalits and some tribal communities are losing the opportunity of accessing land and moving up the ladder of societal structure. Lakhs of families are pushed in to absolute poverty and starvation. They don’t have any form of self-reliance and does not have any chance of getting equitable opportunities for education, health and basic services.
These are some of the observations from the interactions with the communities in the year long Jan Satyagrah Samvad yatra which started on 2nd October from Kanyakumari and being led by Ekta Parishad at national level and AP Alliance for Land at state level.
We would like to share these observations with eminent people like you and discuss on the response of the media and various civil society organisations in this context in advancing the pro-poor land reforms agenda. We request you to make it convenient to attend this round table meeting where in several civil society members and senior media representatives are participating. The meeting time is between 10:30 a.m -1:30 p.m in the Meeting hall (ground floor) of Sundariah Vignana Kendram, Baghlingampally, Hyderabad.
Looking forward for your participation in the meeting
CH. Ravi Kumar
On behalf of Organising committee, Bhumikosam Ikya Sanghatana and JAN SATYAGRAHA
EKTA PARISHAD, is an organisation with the presence in several states which had taken up a campaign on land rights to the poor in 2007 called Janadesh. As part of it 25,000 landless poor, particularly adivasis walked more than 300 k.m from Gwalior to Delhi and demanded the central government for the policies that provide land to the poor. Government responding to the demands had formed a committee called State Agrarian Relations and unfinished task of land reforms. As part of this process a council was also set up with Prime Minister as chairperson. Though the committee has given its recommendations in 2008 nothing has happened in last three years and not even a single meeting was held of the council. This shows the lack of seriousness of the government on land reforms. To put pressure on the government to act on its own promise and implement the recommendations of the committee as well as mobilise public opinion towards that objective, this year long Samvad yatra is being undertaken. After this yatra in October 2012 one lakh people will walk from Gwalior to Delhi as a last resort (Jan Satyagrah) to demand the government to change its policies and democratise the access and ownership of the land and livelihood resources.
Alliance for Land – AP (Bhumikosam – Ikya Sanghatana) is a collective of several organisations working to secure land rights to the poor in Andhra Pradesh. Alliance for Land is coordinating the 16 day yatra covering 16 districts (Chittoor, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Hyderabad, Medak, Ranga Reddy, Mahabubnagar, Kurnool and Anantapur) from 2nd November to 17thNovember.
ORGANSING COMMITTE, BHUMIKOSAM – IKYA SANGHATANA
A.P Vyavasaya Vrittidarula Union, Dalit Bahujan Front, A.P Mahila Samatha Society, A.P Dalita Samakhya, Adivasi Sanghala Samakhya, Adivasi Sankshema Parishad, Natwan Sangham, Shramika Sakthi Sanghatana, Yanadi Samakhya, Dalita Bahujana Vyavasaya Karmika sangham,
Rytu Swarajya Vedika