GOVERNOR BALRAM Jakhar has said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed in principle to give full market rate for land being acquired from farmers under various projects.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a function organised by Bharat Krishak Samaj at village Datoda in Mhow tehsil on Wednesday. True to his agricultural background, Jakhar, in a show of camaraderie with farmers, agreed that they were facing hardships and were not getting share of the pie in country’s development.
He said that during his recent talks with PM Manmohan Singh he had raised the issue of land being acquired at lower rates than market price. He told the PM to go ahead with industrialisation and development, but asked for a fair deal to farmers in return.
Land is the only source of livelihood for 70 per cent of the 140 crore people in the country. The population at the time of independence was about 33 crore, but land did not increase correspondingly since then, he said.
He said that either all the agriculture ministers (whether Union or State) and their departmental secretaries should have an agricultural background, or they should be sent for training for a month during the summer season, so that they had first-hand farming experience.
Fragmentation of land holding is a major problem that is causing forced marginalisation even among prosperous farmers. Ceiling on agricultural land is unjustified so long as ceiling was not introduced in other sectors including industry and urban areas where the rich live in sprawling campuses and the poor in squalor.
In his recent talks with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, he had proposed solutions for the water problem plaguing the State. The CM has agreed to convene a committee meeting in January to increase water availability from the existing 33 per cent. He stressed the need for setting up agro-based industries and developing storage, irradiation and processing.
Jakhar said, “I am not in politics. I am above it and currently I am a mere servant of the people. It is my duty to advise the government irrespective of their political affiliation and persuade politicians to work for prosperity”.
State Congress president Subhash Yadav, who often advocates the cause of farmers, demanded reduction of agriculture loans from the present 17 per cent to seven per cent. Irregular power supply and rains, shortfall of seeds, urea, fertilisers and pesticides—all lead to factors compelling farmers to commit suicide. Former State Congress president Radhakishan Malviya reminded the government of its responsibility to alleviate farmers’ woes. He said that this area had suffered neglect despite the fact that 70 per cent votes come from the farming community.
Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative limited (IFFCO) Chairman Surendra Singh Jakhar, Bharat Krishak Samaj coordinator for Chattisgarh Virendra Singh Rana, who was also the guest of honour, State Samaj coordinator Krishnachander Singh Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.
District Congress president Hemant Pal, City Congress president Pramod Tandon and other Congress leaders including Rameshwar Patel, Tulsi Silawat, Satyanaryan Patel and others were also present.
Samaj district president Kanhaiyalal Yadav, who was also the coordinator of the programme, said that it was the first time a function had been held in Indore to mark the birth anniversary of Samaj founder and India’s first Union Agriculture Minister Dr Punjab Rao Deshmukh due to the active support of Samaj national president Dr Balram Jakhar.