Bhumi Bachao Andolan (BBA)
C/O JAN SANGHARSH VAHINI
Land Acquisition Act, 1894 formulated during the British Raj and in 68 years of Independent India the Act continues to create a voracious appetite for space to meet the demands of industrialisation, infrastructure building, urban expansion and resource extraction. The Act, on the one hand, had promoted forcible land acquisition across the country helping the class-in-power to grab the agricultural land dispossessing the farmers making them jobless and denying them the fair market rate. In the aftermath of the land acquisition, the agricultural plots are distributed, who become its owner and jack up its prices accruing maximum benefit from it. Those who have grabbed the public land are extracting maximum benefit from it but those dispossessed and had been leaving on it for generations are not even given a share of it. Its grossly injustice to those who are the real owners and the land acquisition in India continues to take place without any resettlement and rehabilitation, drastically affecting not only people who lose their land, but also those who lose their livelihood.
This is the view of Bhumi Bachao Andolan led by Jan Sangharsh Vahini Convenor Bhupendra Singh Rawat expressed in a press conference and representatives of different mass organizations associated with Bhumi Bachao Andolan were also present in the press conference.
While addressing the press conference, Shri Rawat said, “In the name of development, agricultural lands are acquired dispossessing the farmers from their only means of sustenance for generations. Dispossession incurs three losses to the farmers, the acquired land redistributed to the capitalists, who commodify it and extract over two advantages. The provisions formulated to benefit the capitalists in Land Acquisition Act cannot be democratic. Landless, those affected by the project and living for generations in the villages denying them share in the ‘Gram Sabha’ land goes against the Babasaheb Ambedkar’s principles of ‘Social Justice’ and Gandhian notion of equality that the benefits should reach those living in lowest social hierarchy.
Further he added, “Only for this reason, Bhumi Bachao Andolan demands that Land Acquisition Act 1894 formulated by the British colonialists be scrapped and in its place such provisions should be included in the law that agricultural land which has been sustaining the farmers for generations, after its acquisition those acquiring it should share the benefits in a democratic way with the farmers and the villagers. Farmers lose their land and don’t get anything in return, and after their land is put to some other use, which increases its value, villagers don’t get any share of the increased worth.”
He opined, “To put the Gandhian principle and Babasaheb Ambedkar’s notions into practice and to democratically share the benefits from the land the Bhumi Bachao Andolan has mooted the idea of Kisan Sarkar Sajhedari (Farmer- Government Partnership) where there would be direct relationship between the farmer and the government, without mediators. The farmers will not sell, but lease out their land. This includes agricultural land owned by farmers as well as common gaon sabha (village community) land—owned collectively by all the members of the village, including the landless. Industries can build their units land and pay lease rent to the farmer; with every successive rise in price of the land, the rent can increase. In the new law, Bhumi Bachao Andolan had suggested these provisions to respective ministries, parliamentary committees and political parties.
“In the recently convened All Party meeting by the Central Government, instead of acquiring land of the farmers, it can be taken on lease and the provisions pertaining to farmers’ right to ownership of land were discussed. The consensus on the provisions of The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill is a major victory to farmers’ struggle launched by Bhumi Bachao Andolan.”
Rawat had appealed the farmers’ organizations and political parties, opposing this stand should change it and stop the practice of dispossessing the farmers and it would benefit the landless in the villages.
However, in the all-party meeting there has been consensus to include the Bhumi Bachao Andolan’s demands, within the ambit of the Bill which would stop the process of making the farmers landless. But dispossessing of the farmers in our country won’t stop till when dozens of central legislations implemented for land acquisition is not scrapped,” he said
Bhumi Bachao Andolan is organizing a National Conference at New Delhi in which peasant organizations, workers unions, functionaries from political parties, social activists would participate for building a consensus and unified voice in support of The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill, 2012. In this conference, all the political parties, social activists, intellectuals would be invited to mobilize support for democratic sharing of the benefits and collectively share the increased worth of the Gaon Sabha land.
On behalf of Bhumi Bachao Andolan