Govt urged to review previous agriculture policies

Umerkot: Human right, peasant leaders and activists struggling for land reforms in Sindh on Saturday urged the government to review the previous policies and ensure benefitting the deserving community through allotting state land so they may live a better life.

They demanded the government to implement land reforms bill 1977. They opposed the move initiated by previous governments, which introduced land reforms on the basis of political grounds and feudal legislators were always benefitted from these reforms .

They were speaking at a “Dialogue with employer and key stakeholders: Livelihood challenges to Agriculture and Brick Kiln Workers” organized by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at Umerkot. The participants unanimously backed the idea to distribute state land through consultation with landless families, who deserve to have their own piece of land with safe shelter and basic facilities.

They expressed concerns over the worst situation of workers in agriculture sector, who are facing poverty, who do not have access to the benefits from the government schemes. “We cannot understand the problems of haris if we will not see back to the history. For example, irrigation system was extended to enormous level, but this could not help the working labour.”

They said hari and landowner have old relationship, which should be kept intact. In case of imbalance or any conflict between the two, may affect the agriculture economy, which is backbone of the national economy. In agriculture areas of Southern parts of Sindh suicide cases are on the rise and majority of the victims belong to those poor families, who cannot afford to have three time meals a day and live a better life. Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar are at the high risk in terms of poverty push, which is affecting the life and livelihoods of farmers and share croppers.

They said there is need to promote rule of law. Haris move from one place to the other; being displaced by landlords allegedly by one or the other reason; the reality is that haris do not have safe piece of land to build shelter. It is the responsibility of the government to take care of citizens as per the law.

The speakers also discussed the major issue of increasing lands fertility due to wrong policies of the government. Landlords usually treat the farmers cruelly and they are not allowed to get their rights guaranteed by the country’s constitution. But they said it is a reality that farmers alone cannot fight against the powerful landlords, who behave them inhumanly. Wadera’s and landlords keep the entire record of product with themselves and do not share the same with share croppers and in result haris live as slaves in pathetic conditions.