It’s true that Mayawati government is responsible for the bloodshed between the police and villagers of a Greater Noida village, but the Congress which is trying to put the Uttar Pradesh government on the mat can’t rule out the fact that absence of a standard law on land acquisition is responsible for such tragic incidents to a great extent. The Congress and the Central government cannot say that the land acquisition row is restricted to Uttar Pradesh alone. There have been several flashpoints over the issue across the country. The fate of several projects hangs in balance due to such controversies. It’s unfortunate that at a time when state governments, farmers and investors are waiting for a standard law on land acquisition, the Centre remains non-committal. It seems the Congress-led government has even forgotten its promise, which it had made to the nation last August that the government would bring in necessary amendments in the Land Acquisition Act in the next session of the Parliament. The Centre failed to live up to its promise because it surrendered before its key ally Mamata Banerjee who wanted to keep the issue on the backburner till Assembly elections in West Bengal gets over. The Land Acquisition Act has not seen any changes since the British rule. At times the decision for not amending the law seems to be a deliberate ploy to ensure that state governments have a free hand in land acquisition.

It’s true that the construction of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and industries cannot be done without acquisition of land.  A number of times agricultural land will have to be acquired for it. But it does not permit the government a free hand spread industrialisation at the cost of interests of farmers. The establishment is washing off its hands from responsibilities just by paying a nominal compensation to the farmers in lieu of their precious land. It’s beyond comprehension why can’t government grant an adequate compensation, especially when they don’t have to pay it from their own coffers.  As far as farmers are concerned, the given compensation is their only source of livelihood being acquired forever. It has also come to light in some cases that the land which was acquired at nominal rates from the farmers was given to corporate houses at a premium. How can such policies be justified? It’s tragic that injustice is being made to farmers despite all political parties claiming to be their flag bearers.