A cycle yatra to protect farmers' interests

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) Two enviromental organisations today announced a two-month-long Kanyakumari-Delhi cycle 'yatra' from January 12, demanding an agricultural policy to protect the interests of small and marginal farmers of the country.

''The present agricultural policy is depriving the farmers of their precious land and it is high time such laws are opposed,'' said Dr Anil P Joshi, founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO), at a news conference here.

He said the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and other such policies ''imported and followed'' by the Centre were snatching the land rights of the farmers.

''Not only the agricultural land, even the waste and barren land should not be offered for SEZs as the livelihood of the rural people depend largely on these lands,'' Dr Joshi added.

In cases where SEZs were absolutely necessary, he said the farmers should be allowed to have a stake.

He urged the government to set up a bank exclusively for farmers to meet their requirements.

Dr Joshi will lead the eleven-member cycle expedition, to be jointly organised by HESCO and Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE).

UNI XC BDP RS1700

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