The Mayawati Government on Thursday withdrew its controversial agriculture development and investment policy incorporating contract farming. The government also ordered the closure of Reliance Fresh and other similar stores in UP because of law and order problem.
Chief Minister Mayawati told journalists after Cabinet meeting that agriculture policy that was announced on August 3, 2007 had been withdrawn following intelligence report against it.
Mayawati said following law and order problem in Lucknow and Varanasi on the inauguration of Reliance Fresh (Mukesh Ambani group) stores on August 22, the district magistrates had ordered for their closure. The chief minister has constituted a high level committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh to review all aspects of such stores and report to the government within one month.
On withdrawal of contentious farm policy the chief minister said that “intelligence report gathered from 70 districts indicated that 60 per cent farmers were against it”.
The government had drawn flak from the Opposition and the farmers over the provision of contract farming under the new policy. “The government is committed to protect the interest of farmers thus policy has been shelved”, Mayawati said.
The chief minister said the government had mooted the voluntary farm policy for the welfare of the farmers. “I had earlier clarified the apprehensions of the farmers on the issue”, she said and added “after serious reconsideration and intelligence report the government has scrapped the policy”.
On Reliance Fresh, Mayawati said a committee consisting of principal secretaries of Home, Housing, Agriculture, Health and Urban development had been constituted to study law and order, licensing, health, sanitation, location and other issues. The government would thus come out with a policy on such stores, she said.
Reliance Fresh had opened its stores in Lucknow and Varanasi on August 22 that attracted wrath of the people. There was large-scale violence in the two cities. The Samajwadi Party MP and trading community leader Banwarilal Kanchal led mob in Lucknow to attack Reliance Fresh stores on Wednesday.
The chief minister said immediate reason for the closure of these stores was law and order.
The Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary Shailesh Krishna said other Malls would not come under the purview of the committee. “The decision is for these specific stores for particular purpose”, Krishna said and added there was so far no policy for such projects.
The chief minister said some ministers also informed that Opposition had been spreading “rumour” about the amendment in Land Ceiling Act to reduce the minimum ceiling on land. “There is no base in the report”, she said.