The battle for land: Devinder Sharma’s article in Tehelka

Selected highlights: 

Whether it is for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) or IT parks or nuclear reactors or airports or even for bio-fuel plantations, the battle for land has become fierce . . .

Thanks to economists, the argument that industry is important for economic growth is coming in handy to usurp land, water and other natural resources.

Who will feed UP?

While good productive farmland is being diverted for non-agricultural purposes, there is no mention of the resulting disaster awaiting the nation as far as food security is concerned. As per rough estimates, 6.6 million hectares would be taken out of farming in UP, which would mean a production loss of 14 million tonnes of foodgrains. In other words, UP will be faced with a terrible food crisis in the years to come, the seeds for which are being sown now. The question no one is asking is who will feed UP?

An economic superpower cannot be built on hungry stomachs

What is not being realised is that crisis in that state alone will make all estimates of the proposed National Food Security Act go topsy-turvy. An economic superpower cannot be built on hungry stomachs. The need, therefore, is to immediately ban the conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. This has to be followed with a comprehensive development planning Act that is people-friendly and replaces the draconian Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Read full article on Ground Reality


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