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Protest against Ordinance to amend Land Acquisition Act

The Ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act will be a huge blow to the livelihood of share croppers and agricultural labourers in Odisha, alleged the CPI-ML (New Democracy) and peasants’ organisation All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS).

Both these organisations held a joint protest in front of the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) in Berhampur on Monday. They demanded the Centre withdraws the Ordinance and urged the Odisha government to oppose it. Demonstrators raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, accusing them to be anti-farmer. “Modi government’s claim that it was promoting ‘swadeshi’ is proved false from this anti-farmer and pro-multinational company Ordinance,” said CPI-ML (New Democracy) State spokesperson B. C. Sarangi.

Leaders of both these organisation are of the opinion that due to this Ordinance, the poor share croppers and agricultural labourers would be worst sufferers. Although large part of agricultural land in Odisha is tilled by share croppers, they have been completely ignored in this new Ordinance, said AIKMS State committee member Kusanath Pradhan.

It may be noted that share croppers are yet to get legal status in Odisha, which means that under the new Ordinance only the land owners will benefit, they alleged.

According to Mr Sarangi and Mr Pradhan, this ‘anti-people’ Ordinance would take away the right of peasants over their land.

They criticised the government for neither bringing the Ordinance to public notice nor discussing it in Parliament. Lack of social impact assessment by gram sabha was also condemned by the CPI-ML (New Democracy) and AIKMS.

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