Farmers Protest in Chhattisgarh against Land Acquisition Bill

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 11:53 GMT, May 8, 2015 |

Farmers in Dilmili village in Dantewada district of central India’s Chhattisgarh state staged protests against Land Acquisition Bill and construction of a mega steel plant. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the site on Saturday (May 09) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which has further enraged the farmers. Most of the farmers complained that they were not consulted when their land was seized by the government. Further, they feel that construction of a mega plant and a new factory will strip them off their lands as well as their livelihood.

“Our 10 houses are under one person’s name, he has the patta. So, all the 10 persons become homeless due to this. Even if employment is given, it will be given to just one person, that too an illiterate and the rest nine will be rendered homeless,” said the village head (sarpanch) of Dilmili village, Ayaturam Mandawi. The villagers reason that their land is not just a piece of a land but a guarantee of livelihood that has been passed to them from their forefathers and which they will pass on to their children. The farmers said that they are not willing to give away their land even at the cost of their blood.

The earlier development projects in the area has only substantiated their fears as they feel few of them will end up with menial jobs while most will be left jobless and homeless. “Our brothers and tribals in Nagarnar and Bastar are illiterate. They are given menial jobs like cooking, cleaning, sweeping, latrine cleaning and gate keeping, while outsiders do important works and travel in AC buses and live in AC rooms,” Devi Prasad Vanja, a farmer of Dilmili village said. The federal government has been facing hostility for advocating the Land Acquisition Bill. The Bill allows the government to seize land from the farmers without their consent.