July 02, 2023

AIKS Congratulates Greater Noida Farmers for their Successful Land Struggle

THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), in a statement issued on June 26, has congratulated the farmers of Greater Noida on their victory after a 61-day-long day and night dharna in front of the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), which began on April 25, 2023. This victory is significant as the agreement recognises the rights of the farming community as conferred by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement (LARR) Act of 2013. This achievement will serve as a milestone for farmers and landholders across the country who have been affected by land acquisition projects and were denied the rights guaranteed under the LARR Act of 2013.

AIKS has called upon the farmers from the Greater Noida villages to commemorate June 28 as the victory day. Additionally, the state units of AIKS will observe the victory day in the villages prior to July 10.

The Uttar Pradesh government has agreed to establish a high-power committee through an official notification before June 30. This committee will be headed by the state minister for the industrial department and will include members such as Members of Parliament (both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha), MLAs of Jevar and Dadri, the chairman of GNIDA, chief secretary of the Industrial Development Department, CEO of GNIDA, and representatives of the farmers. The committee's primary objective will be to address various demands put forth by the farmers.

These demands encompass the return of 10 per cent of the developed land to the original landholders, the regulation of land shifting in accordance with the policies outlined in the authority's bylaws, the reinstatement of 120 square meter house plots for landless families, and the restoration of the 17.5 percent quota of residential plots under the authority for farmers, among others.

The committee will meet before July 15 to discuss these demands and ensure their implementation in accordance with the law.

The district magistrate of Gautam Buddha Nagar has constituted a committee to take action as per the law on the assurance made by the administration in the agreement on September 3, 2010 to revise the circle rate of land and provide employment to the affected farmer families.

The GNIDA will address and take appropriate actions on issues falling under its jurisdiction. This includes waiving penalties on construction delays pertaining to the 6 per cent house plots, creating a roster of affected farmers in the remaining villages, facilitating sub-partition of land up to a minimum of 40 square meters, and ensuring the provision of 40 square meter house plots for landless families in all villages, as agreed upon in the Patwadi village agreement.

The second UPA government enacted the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement (LARR) Act in 2013, following a series of farmers' struggles against the coercive acquisition of land throughout India, in which many farmers became martyrs. During that period, five farmers lost their lives in 2008 in Greater Noida, and two farmers were killed in 2011 in the village of Bhatta Parsaul in the Noida region. These incidents serve as stark reminders of the sacrifices made by farmers during their relentless battle for justice and protection of their land rights.

The 2013 Act has introduced several significant provisions aimed at addressing various aspects of land acquisition. These include higher compensation rates, double the circle rate in urban areas and four times in rural areas. Additionally, the Act includes a clause for conducting social impact studies, as well as provisions for rehabilitation and resettlement of affected families. It also emphasizes the importance of providing employment opportunities in industries and services for those affected, allocating house plots for landless families in the village, and ensuring access to education and healthcare facilities.

However, following the 2014 general election, the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under the corporate pressures, introduced the controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance in 2015. This move aimed to undermine the rights granted by the LARR Act, 2013. In response, farmers mounted widespread protests and resistance under the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan banner, successfully preventing the ordinance from being enacted. Undeterred, the union government directed state governments under its control to pass their own land acquisition laws in their respective assemblies, thereby circumventing the rights of the farming community. Consequently, numerous struggles for fair compensation and other rights have emerged across different parts of the country.

The success of the farmers in Greater Noida in forcing the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to accept their legitimate demands, which were originally agreed upon in 2011, is truly noteworthy in this context. In line with the objectives of the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, a nationwide convention of farmers affected by land acquisition projects is scheduled to take place in the second half of August 2023 in Madhya Pradesh. The specific date and venue for the convention will be announced shortly.

AIKS extends its heartfelt congratulations to the courageous fighters, particularly the women and youth, from the villages of Greater Noida who have emerged victorious in this crucial battle for the land rights of farmers throughout India. This victory serves as a powerful reminder that more struggles lie ahead to secure justice for all the affected farming families, who have suffered under the pro-corporate land acquisition policies of the BJP-led central government and state governments across the country.