NEW DELHI: "Land is the issue," was the unanimous conclusion of a public hearing held here on Monday on 'Special Economic Zones and Land Rights' by Navdanya and attended among others by the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, S.P. Shukla of the National Committee on Agrarian Crisis and P.V. Rajgopal of the Ekta Parishad.
"The largest SEZs have been allocated to Mukesh Ambani, the world's richest man. This is a criminal subsidy that the State is providing to the rich by stealing from the poor," said Vandana Shiva who chaired the hearing.
While Mr. Singh reiterated that the Land Acquisition Act, had no place in a genuine market economy, Mr. Shukla asserted that the land would be the defining issue for Indian politics and the Indian economy. Mr. Rajgopal who organised the recent Janadesh Yatra, said the struggle for land would not stop till land justice was done.
Representative from Nandigram, Gurgaon, Jhajjar gave reports on the violence perpetrated on village communities for corporate land grab. Farmers from across India participated in the public hearing here to stress that farmers and tribals of Nandigram, Singur, Dadri, Kalinganagar, Raigad, POSCO and Barnala had experienced bloodbath in saving their land, making it the most important contemporary issue.
The public hearing resolved that the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 must be amended to ensure that government did not acquire land for private companies.