Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said one-lakh party volunteers are ready to court arrest as part of the ‘land protection agitation’ that will begin on New Year’s day against the United Democratic Front (UDF) government’s alleged torpedoing of land reforms.

At a meeting, where two streams of rallies taken out to propagate the land protection agitation culminated here on Sunday, Mr. Balakrishnan said the agitation would create a new landmark in the Communist struggle in Kerala.

The meeting, held at the end of two weeks of rallies, was opened by Kisan Sabha general secretary and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K. Varadarajan.

Mr. Balakrishnan said that on January 1, party volunteers, mainly those from the Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union, would occupy nearly 2,000 acres of ‘surplus land’ spread across the 14 districts in the State.

The occupation was to protest the UDF government’s alleged move to dilute the land reforms carried out by the EMS government that limited the area of land a family could own to 15 acres. Mr. Balakrishnan said the UDF government had made amendments to the law that would exempt lands over and above the 15 acres from the surplus land norm if there were 150 cashew plants in an acre. There was also a provision that five per cent of the plantation lands could be utilised for other purposes.

“This way, the government is letting thousands of acres of land to be taken over by the land mafia,” he said.

Mr. Govindan said KSKTU volunteers would occupy 152 acres of ‘surplus land’ at Kadamakkudy panchayat of Ernakulam owned by a company whose director board included the former cricketer Kapil Dev.

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