‘Fate of farmers has not improved much’

What the Left parties need now is ideological clarity, opined veteran journalist Dinesh Amin Mattu.

He was speaking during a discussion on ‘Land Reforms in Karnataka: Past, Present and Future’, as a part of the centenary celebrations of former Rajya Sabha member and former MLA late B V Kakkilaya. The event was titled ‘Light Behind-Life Ahead’.  

The programme was organised by Samadarshi Vedike, M S Krishnan Memorial Trust, Hosathu Monthly and Navakarnataka Publications at Bishop Jathanna Auditorium in Balmatta, Mangaluru on Sunday.

‘Go to people’

“Leaders should go to people. They should not expect people to come to them. People demanding a debate between Left and Right Wings should clarify their own stand first”, Mattu opined.

He said those who had obtained lands after submitting declarations under the Karnataka Land Reforms Act in 1961, had not benefited much.

“Farmers have abandoned their lands. These lands are now being developed by the real estate sector. Earlier, sons of the families of tenants had to go to Mumbai to make a living and support their families,” he observed.

‘No improvement’

“The fate of farmers hasn’t improved much. There is a need for a scientific agricultural policy which enables the grower to decide the price of the crop. In the coastal region, not even a single penny is released by the government for irrigation in rain-fed areas. Most lands are barren,” Mattu noted and urged the government to implement the M S Swaminathan Committee report in this regard.

“The tenants who got lands through the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, should remember people like B V Kakkillya, Devaraj Urs, Hucchumasti Gowda and Subbaiah Shetty,” recalled Mattu.

Urs statue

He requested that the government should install a statue of Devaraj Urs in Mangaluru. “Sadly, even veteran Congress leaders like B Janardhana Poojary, M Veerappa Moily and Oscar Fernandes (the Congress trinity) of Dakshina Kannada have not recognised Devaraj Urs’ achievements,” he added. 

Hampi Kannada University Professor Chandru Poojary stated that the poor were getting the least attention of the government after liberalisation. Post 90’s, the government’s policies are ‘bottom-up’ and not ‘top-down’.

“Funds are not coming from the government down to the people. But resources are going up to the government. Today, 20% of India’s population is consuming 80% resources. The government’s focus is not on improving the economy,” he remarked.

B V Kakkilaya’s son Dr Srinivasa Kakkilaya was present.

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