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Land Acquisition—A Response

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The letter titled “New Land Relations” by Adfer Rashid Shah (EPW, 29 August 2020) is very absorbing. It mentions that my paper “Landlessness and Agrarian Inequality without Landlordism” (EPW, 22 August 2020) misses an important point—“the shrinking agricultural land due to commercialisation and rise of non-agricultural activities like housing, other construction and developmental projects, and railway projects that are fast eating away at agricultural land”—in its analysis of agrarian structure in the villages of Bihar.

The point raised by Shah is significant because there have been many cases of acquisition of land from peasants, including tribal peasants by the state and industrial houses for commercial purposes in the various parts of the country. The country has also witnessed many social movements against such measures. However, this issue has not been analysed in my paper because I could not come across a case of acquisition of land by the government or any other agency for any non-agricultural commercial or development project in the studied villages.

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