3rd Reply to DLDP Queries (30 March 1993)

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We recognise the consolidation of scattered holdings as a process which takes place in wider society when agriculture is given far more seriousness than it gets in semifeudal peasant economics. We realise that it opens the possibilities for a vast scope of productive inputs.

At Bagepalli it is significant to note that coolies were able to do it before the middle and rich peasants. They thereby took a lead in identifying one of the critical points in the changing political economy. This lead role had far more than economic ramifications and went beyond the mechanical exercise of convenience which it also was. Similarly a significant reduction in the number of landless was yet another hallmark of the Bagepalli DLDP. Both these inter linked phenomena marked an important sociocultural milestone in the coolies’ preparedness to venture into a new ordering of their lives, which is what the DLDP 2nd phase turned out to be. The taking of crop loans to the tune of Rs 1,000 per acre, for example, now has far more value than it seemingly suggests.

ADATS/DDS and the coolies are definitely committed to making statements on the political economies of the 4 extension areas, specially on prevailing agriculture, through the implementation of the DLDP. This learning will take place through together acting on specific situations which arise in the form of issues. As to whether particular phenomena like land consolidation or any other will definitely happen in the extension areas cannot be forecast with precise certainty.

Apart from a frank confession of ignorance on intricacies, the other reason for our hesitance to commit ourselves definitely is that all 4 extensions are not of a uniform description. Within each taluk, except perhaps at Chintamani, there is more than a single pattern. We already suspect that levels of capitalisation in parts of Chickballapur are so high that it might be well neigh impossible to convince non members to swap their plots of land till the Taluk Coolie Sangha gains more in strength and presence. Similarly the land:person ratio in Siddalaghatta is so low that it just may not be feasible to find lands for the landless.

But a definite assurance we can give is that the interests of the landless and land poor will not be glossed over by the CSUs. In the past 1 year preproject preparatory phase, intense discussions have taken place and a whole lot of specific plans have been made to protect the interests of the landless. In many cases they have found patches of government land for the landless and the entire CSU is helping them in their struggle to get title deeds. In some it is a reservation of CCF capital for the landless to undertake alternate occupations.

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