NCP against land ceiling reforms

Finds it ‘unrealistic’,contradictory to land acquisition Bill provisions

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Updated: April 8, 2014 5:56 pm

The NCP has decided to vehemently oppose the National Land Reforms Policy of the Congress. The party said the policy is non-pragmatic and contradicts the land acquisition Bill that is being pushed in Parliament. It believes that the Bill would prevent exploitation of farmers and ensure adequate compensation for land acquired from them for projects. But the land ceiling,according to the NCP,would force the farmers to engage in agriculture activities in 5-10 acres of land and therefore financially unsustainable in the long term.

Agriculture activities in the country have already shrunk by 15-20 per cent. The NCP believes this Bill,conceived by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh,would further disengage the farmers from the sector and affect the foodgrain production. The draft policy states,“In 1950s and 60s,land reforms were undertaken. Time has come to re-look at the reforms.”

However,the NCP Cabinet ministers said the norm in the policy disallowing land holdings more than 5-10 acres is “ridiculous”. “In the age of mechanised farming how can anybody pursue agriculture?” asked one of the ministers. State revenue ministry officials were more candid. “In the election year,no political party will give a nod for such reforms,” said an official.

The official said the move to put a ceiling on land holding will be more taxing than land acquisition. State NCP chief Bhaskar Jadhav said,“Our party has decided not to support the Land Reform Policy. It is not going to work in favour of farmers or agriculture sector.”

The Congress leadership had on Tuesday refused to comment on the document that promises equitable distribution of land to landless farmers and women in the agriculture sector. The policy which is still in its nascent stage proposes to impose state-wise ceiling on land holdings to ensure better utility and distribution of agriculture land among landless farmers.

An MPCC functionary said the state Congress and the government will be guided by the AICC directives.

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