BENGALURU: Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention in withholding the Karnataka Land Reforms Amendment ordinance passed by the cabinet. Deeming the ordinance an attempt to dilute the safeguards meant to empower the farming community, Siddaramaiah said it will deter India’s growth story. 

He urged PM Modi to direct Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to withhold the ordinance so it could be discussed in the assembly. “The ordinance will have a multi-pronged effect on the farming community and political economy of Karnataka. Historical efforts to make one who tills the owner of the land will be undone, and pave the era of rich owning the land,” Siddaramaiah said. 

He added that the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board already has 36,000 acres of undeveloped land which can be utilised for industrial development instead of “eyeing productive lands of farmers”. Pointing out that farmers and their families will be adversely affected and many will be forced to turn labourers in the lands of industrialists or big farmers as a result of the ordinance, Siddaramaiah warned of the ‘zamindar system’ making a comeback. 

He alleged that the attempt at land reforms was in tune with the interests of Bengaluru’s land mafia, which is waiting for more land to make enormous profits through real estate — an observation that found support from party colleague and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh. “Karnataka Govt under @BSYBJP-avaru is pandering to land sharks and real estate mafia with this ordinance. It will undo decades of land reforms in Karnataka, directly impacting farmers from marginalised communities. It must be revoked immediately as demanded by @siddaramaiah-avaru,” he tweeted.

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