Government urged to take over all lease-expired forestland
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member and president of All India Kisan Sabha S. Ramachandran Pillai said here on Saturday that “the policies of the Union government would bring a new kind of landlordism in the country as corporates were cornering vast tracts of land.”
Inaugurating a State-level convention to launch mass struggles to ensure protection of the Land Reforms Act in Kerala, at Fort Maidan here, Mr. Pillai said the Union government had allowed Foreign Direct Investment in real estate and was now allowing foreign and Indian corporate giants to buy huge tracts of agriculture land. This would result in the concentration of vast land in the hands of a few companies. Land trade was becoming a big business in the country,” the CPI (M) leader said.
Paddy field conversion
In his presidential address, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the United Democratic Front (UDF) government was trying to sabotage the law brought in by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to protect paddy fields and wetlands in the State. The UDF government had brought amendments to this law to legalise all conversions of paddy land till 2005.
The UDF government had also brought a law to permit use of five per cent of plantations for other purposes. This would defeat the very purpose of the plantation law that did not come under the Land Ceiling Act, Mr. Vijayan said. He called upon the government to take over the excess land from plantations and distribute it to the landless people.
He asked the government to take over all lease expired forestland in Nelliampathy and other areas of the State. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan presented the mass action plan being jointly launched by farmers, agriculture workers, tribal and other sections of the people demanding the implementation of the Land Reforms Act and distribution of the surplus land to landless farmers.
Those who were present at the convention included M.B. Rajesh, P.K. Biju (MPs); A.K. Balan, MLA; CPI (M) central committee members A. Vijayaraghavan, E.P. Jayarajan, Paloli Mohammed Kutty; Kerala Agriculture Workers Union secretary B. Raghavan; and Adivasi Samithy leader Vidyadharan Kani.