It is with great alarm and concern that I read the article entitled “Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill (LARR) 2011 – its real purpose’’ in the October 16-31, 2011 issue of MEL. The article is an important one that analyzes very coldly and factually the aspects of the bill that has been introduced in Parliament. I understand that it has now been referred to a standing committee which is expected to submit its report in December so that the Bill can be passed during the winter session of Parliament. The question of course is why the hurry? Why should a law that is going to affect the lives of millions across the length and breadth of the vast country be pushed through in such a hurry? Why the short circuiting of the so-called consultation process by the new Minister for Rural Development? If the people of the country are smelling something rotten, it is probably because something is indeed rotten.
The article actually explains in great detail what is exactly rotten about the Bill and indeed what the consequences will be once it is passed into law. There is a severe demand by major capitalist players for cheap land and there has been now over the last decade on an unprecedented scale. The Special Economic Zones have gained notoriety for the manner they have been able to acquire land. There has been resistance across the country to this, as those that are living on these lands are refusing rightfully to part with them. On the one hand the capitalists have the state on their side, while the masses have the capacity to resist. This struggle has been playing itself out in the field time and again. Nevertheless, the article points out the diabolical nature of the aspects of the new LARR Bill. In particular, it is so crafted so that many struggles going on now will not even be covered by this law, but rather under other laws that have been passed over the last six and a half decades. It is my honest belief that once this Bill is passed, it will lead to a further exacerbation of the situation and there will be mass resistance. The attempts to hoodwink the masses will soon be exposed. It is worth preparing early for the upcoming struggles in this regard. I would therefore like to thank MEL for carrying this important and informative article.