A delegation of Delhi farmers met Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh recently to convey their disappointment on the systematic watering down of a draft of the Land Acquisition Bill by the Group of Ministers.

The farmers, who had come together under the banner of Kissan Mahasangh, said while initially land owner had given up surplus land to the landless immediately after Independence to help establish a social set up with equitable assets and opportunities, it was ironical that now laws are being made to facilitate accumulation of thousands of acres of land by private companies and individuals.

Over 300 special economic zones have come up on the fertile land of farmers who have not benefited from them in any way. As per the Ministry of Finance the nation has lost over Rs.163,000 crore in revenue till 2010, the delegation claimed.

Lamenting that despite this, the national manufacturing policy (NMP) plans to acquire larger areas without any plan for employment or rehabilitation, the delegation said sight should not be lost of the fact that over 50 crore individuals are provided their source of livelihood by the unorganised sector.

With the organised sector providing merely 3 to 4 crore jobs, the delegation said the basis on which 10 crore jobs have been promised in the NMP was not clear.

Co-convener of the Kissan Mahasangh Devinder Seharawat said the delegation also objected to the acquisition of land for private companies; creation of land pool of unutilised land and leaving the decision of the calculation compensation of land vague.

The Minister, he said, gave the delegation a patient hearing and assured to take the dialogue process forward.

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