CHENNAI:Continuing her protests against the amended Land Acquisition Ordinance, noted social activist Medha Patkar got support from social organisations and political parties in the State here on Sunday.
Taking the centre stage among an audience of politicians, farmers, slum-dwellers and social activists, she said, “It’s not only the electoral political force that can make real changes. We will raise our voice against corporatisation of our forests, our agriculture land, our homes.”
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) which organised the protest in Chennai on Sunday got support from representatives of the CPI, CPM, MDMK and SDPI among other political parties.
Addressing the crowd, Patkar said the Land Acquisition Act dated back to 1894 during the British colonial rule. “But even back then, there was no clause that mandated land could be grabbed for private purposes,” she pointed out.
If it came into effect, the highly contentious bill would allegedly affect up to 33 per cent of the population in Chennai - the people who lived in slums. It essentially put their settlements under the ambit of “acquirable” without consulting land owners, who were the biggest stakeholders in this matter, Patkar asserted.
The fact that a social impact assessment (SIA) was also being sidestepped raised concern.
Defense, medical, industrial reasons for acquiring people’s land were vague and dubious as these could potentially carry political and economic motivation and result in putting up hectares of homes and farmland up for sale.
The Land Acquisition Bill as drafted by the UPA government had included a clause that required 70 per cent consent from farmers before a land was acquired for private purposes. But that was dispensed with in the present form of the Bill.