Saturday, May 8, 2010

Is that a Fair Price?

Well the story goes like this. Some time ago, a company acquired some acres of land on the outskirts of our beloved Dilli and decided to build our nation’s future and it did. The land belonged to farmers, some with less than 5 acres of it, and that being their only source of income. The government acquired the land under the Land Act and compensated the farmers and the company provided job assurances that sounded lucrative to the young.

Three years later, I pick a copy of my newspaper and the front page shows the Q1 profits made by the company, the news continues on to the business page. But while I am on my way to the business page, I stumble across another news some pages down the line. It says three farmers commit suicide because of their inability to provide livelihood to their family; and I read on. I searched further and found they are just one of the many farmers whose land was acquired by the same company. It turned out as they had no land, they started looking for alternate means of earning bread. First the company rejected them saying they are not skilled or educated thus not required. Then the money they had was used to setup a local shop which drastically failed and whatever money was left was used over the next two years for food and other essentials. After they ran out of all money, they could see no future and decided to take the dreaded step.

It’s ironical to see the farmer, who first provided us with food and gave his land for our future, die in such a way. Their children are jobless because they also like their father only possessed agricultural skills and couldn’t pursue education because of lack of funds. The sad part is that it’s not the end; the story goes on and on in many parts of our Bharat. Our shinning India is facing perhaps the worst crisis since Independence and it’s being totally ignored. We have frog-jumped our way from being an agricultural economy to emerge as a strong services-based economy, skipping a lot of things that needed to be done and implemented.

They say the night is darkest before the dawn and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. But what good is that light or that dawn for that person who couldn’t survive to see it.

I have just one question for the rising and shining India: Is this a fair price we need to pay ?

Rustam Singh Sandhu

P.S- Thanks a ton to Vasu who led me into this direction and also helped me by editing this piece for me.