Amendment to land reforms law: Siddaramaiah seeks Modi’s intervention

Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to 'withhold' the amendment to Karnataka Land Reforms Act, claiming that it would 'impact' the state's farmers badly.

"The decision taken by the Karnataka government is unilateral without taking the farming community into confidence.

This amendment, which has very high impact, needs to be debated in the assembly before being implemented," Siddaramaiah pointed out in a letter to the Prime Minister.

"I strongly urge you, in the interest of millions of farmers, to direct the Chief Minister of Karnataka to withhold the ordinance," he said.

The Congress Legislature Party leader was referring to promulgation of Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 to amend the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, removing restrictions on non-agriculturists purchasing farm lands and doubling the ceiling on land holdings.

He said the cabinet had also taken a decision to repeal sections including 79-A (prohibition on acquisition of land by certain persons), 79-C (penalty for failure to furnish declaration) and Section 80 (transfer to non-agriculturists barred), which have come into effect from 19th August 2020.

According to Siddaramaiah, the farmers are vulnerable at the hands of wealthy and powerful people.

The average land holding is about three to four acres per family and this attempt to double the land ceiling would further decrease the average land holding, which would have an adverse impact on the production capabilities of small and medium farmers, the Congress leader said.

Noting that KIADB already has 36,000 acres of undeveloped land, he said it could be utilised for industrial development instead of eyeing the productive lands of farmers.

"The farmers and their families will be adversely affected and many will be forced to be labourers, due to economic or social vulnerabilities, in the lands of industrialists or big farmers," he added.

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