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Farmers warn of “Violent Protests” in Gujarat over Land Acquisition



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New Delhi, May 28: Farmer leaders have warned of “Violent Protests” in Gujarat over the issue of lignite mining by the Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL) at Bhavnagar.

The state is witnessing agitation since April 1, after the GPCL claimed possession of around 1,414 hectares of land in 12 villages of Ghogha and Bhavnagar talukas.

“Gujarat is sitting on a live volcano. Not only the farmers, but entire rural Gujarat is crying. We are part of the ongoing movement in Bhavnagar. The Kheru samaj of farmers is very strong. They are the ones spearheading the struggle and we are with them,” a PTI story of NDTV quoted All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Atul Anjan as saying.

As per the state government notification, GPCL had purchased a land in Badi, Hoidad, Malekvadar, Padva, Khadsaliya, Thalsar, Lakhanka, Thordi, Rampara, Surka and Aalampar villages of Ghogha and Bhavnagar rural talukas in 1997. But the villagers are yet to give up possession of the said land so far.

Peasants allege that the government is ignoring the land acquisition law while acquiring their land for lignite mining.

“According to the Land Acquisition Act-2013, if a land acquired for any purpose is not utilised within five years, then it has to be given back to the owner or farmers. No state government, including the one in Gujarat, is following the Act. Now the farmers of Bhavnagar are demanding that their land should remain with them as it was not utilised,” PTI quoted AIKS leader Hannan Mollah as saying.

Even though the government claims to have given compensation to the peasants, the farmers allege that many of them were forced to part with their land.

Not only this, the farmers’ leaders also accused the BJP-led government at the centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being hand-in-gloves with corporates and ignoring the plight of the Agri community.

“The environment ministry is just a rubber stamp. Those in the PMO make a proposal for the corporates and get the stamp of the ministry, ignoring the hazard the plant would cause to people and the environment,” Mollah stated.

The farmer leaders caution that taking a cue from the Tuticorin incident which claimed 13 lives, the peasants will intensify their struggle in Gujarat too.

However, they also hope that the Tuticorin incident may pressurise the state government to negotiate to calm down the “massive discontent” within the agriculture community.



‘Corporate vultures eying small banks, merge Lakshmi Vilas Bank with govt bank’




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Chennai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should take a prompt and correct action of merging the 93-year-old Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with a nationalised bank, a top leader of one of the largest bank unions said.

“There are a number of corporate vultures that are circling the small-old generation private banks for a take over. These regional banks have their own tradition and culture and taking them beyond certain borders and expanding their size will result in failure,” All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS.

It is not known who brings the suitors for the south-based, regional old-generation private banks and for what purpose.

Referring to the voting out of seven Directors of the Lakshmi Vilas Bank, and the statutory auditors by a group of shareholders at annual general meeting held on September 25, Venkatachalam said it is time for the RBI to act quickly in the interests of depositors.

“The RBI should take necessary steps to merge the LVB with a public sector bank to protect the depositors, rather than looking out for suitors who may not be suited for the bank’s culture,” he said.

According to Venkatachalam, banks like the LVB, Karur Vysya Bank (KVB), Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB), Karnataka Bank and others are largely regional banks steeped in their own tradition.

“Expanding them into unknown territories would result in trouble for them,” he said.

Citing the case of Kerala-based small-sized Dhanlaxmi Bank, Venkatachalam recalled that around 2008-2012, it made a loss of over Rs 850 crore as the top management brought it to serious problems in the name of modernising it.

He said with the intervention of the RBI, a change in top management, and strengthening its capital base, etc. and inducting some reputed people on the bank’s Board, Dhanlaxmi Bank turned around and earned profit.

As a part of turnaround, the bank closed down many of its branches in north Indian states, where inadequate controls landed it in problems, he said.

Venkatachalam said for the past two years, the Dhanlaxmi Bank is making profits with the profit for last fiscal being Rs 65 crore – the highest since the bank’s inception.

He pointed out the Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank, which is operating steadily, as an example of a well-run, small-sized old generation bank which was started in 1904.

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Agri laws are death sentence for farmers: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress party is also protesting against the farm laws across the country.



Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Sep 28 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that the agriculture-related laws are a “death sentence” for farmers whose voice has been crushed both inside and outside Parliament.

“The agriculture laws are a death sentence to our farmers. Their voice is crushed in Parliament and outside. Here is proof that democracy in India is dead,” he said on Twitter.

Gandhi tagged a news report along with his tweet that claimed that Opposition members demanding a division of votes were on their seats when the farm bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha, while the government said they were not.

Gandhi and his Congress party have been demanding that the farm legislations be withdrawn as they are not beneficial for farmers, who will be enslaved at the hands of private players and big businesses.

The Congress party is also protesting against the farm laws across the country.

The government has, however, asserted that the new laws will free farmers from the clutches of middleman and allow them to sell their produce anywhere they want at a remunerative price.

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Congress protests against farm laws in Goa, demands rollback

“If this is not a new ‘zamindari system’, what else is? Through this specious mode of contract farming, farmers will be left at the mercy of big companies, courts and bureaucracy in the event of any dispute.




Goa Congress Farm Protest

Panaji, Sep 28 : The Congress in Goa on Monday staged a protest at the Raj Bhavan here to protest against the three new agricultural laws and demanded their rollback.

In a memorandum submitted at the Raj Bhavan, Goa Congress leaders leading more than 1,000 protestors claimed the new legislations were “anti-farmer but corporate-friendly”.

Parliament passed the three Bills in its Monsoon Session. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent on September 24 whereas the central government published it its gazette on Sunday.

“The biggest flaw in the contract farming law is that Minimum Support Price (MSP) is not mandatory. Once the mandi system is abolished, farmers will be solely dependent on contract farming and big companies will decide the price of farmer’s crops on their own,” claimed the memorandum signed by top Congress functionaries and addressed to the President of India.

“If this is not a new ‘zamindari system’, what else is? Through this specious mode of contract farming, farmers will be left at the mercy of big companies, courts and bureaucracy in the event of any dispute.

“In such a scenario, powerful big companies will naturally exercise their influence on bureaucracy and attack the very livelihood of farmers by engaging them in the legal intricacies and earn profits,” the memorandum said.

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