Friday, September 19, 2008

‘Development is hijacked by multinationals’

How do you see the ongoing agitations for land in various states?

Struggle for land is a major issue in various states. Despite 60 years since Independence, the governments have not been able to solve the problem. A major portion of the land in the country is still with a handful of mighty people. And the number of poor, landless persons throughout the country is increasing by the day. Dalits, tribals and other marginalised sections are the victims of this issue. Simultaneously, the struggle for land has converted itself into a political issue in several states. In West Bengal, Kerala, Orissa, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, the land issue has now come to occupy centre stage.

Does the dispossession of people for developmental activities also pose a challenge?

In the name of development, governments forcibly acquire land from the people. For creating expressways and highways, people have been evacuated from their ancestral land. With new roads, the number of vehicles will also go up exponentially. To meet the demand for more vehicles, motor companies have to perpetually identify land for new vehicle production units. Peasants are being forcibly evacuated from their cultivable land. The increasing demand for fuel has also become an issue for farmers. In a move to resolve the fuel crisis, state governments and other agencies are trying to find out alternative fuels like Jetropha. In Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, large areas have been used to cultivate Jetropha. With this, farmers have lost the land which rightfully belongs to them.


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