Dehra Dun: To oppose the entry of big companies and multinationals into the retail sector, Environmentalist Anil P Joshi and 40 others will undertake a cycle tour from Jammu and Kashmir to Uttarakhand,starting April 7.
The 1,000 km trip, will start from Parthal village of Jammu region and will pass through 500 villages in six states before culminating at Dehra Dun on April 22, Joshi told reporters here today.
He expressed fear that “economic gains of companies like Walmart and Reliance in the agriculture sector would not reach marginalized farmers, who are being involved in contract farming now”.
“The villagers are deprived of any control over their own natural resources and livelihood. More than the 80% of the profit coming from natural resources of rural India are shared by middlemen, industrialists and the marketing companies with only 20% going back to rural India,” he said.
During the tour, Joshi said he would hold talks and take feedback from small farmers, hawkers and other small shopkeepers, whose fate hinges on the entry of big retail stores.
Citing the examples of Nandigram, Singur in West Bengal and Pantnagar in Uttarakhand where agriculture land is being acquired for SEZs, Joshi called for an agriculture land policy that makes it mandatory for state governments to fix a certain percentage of land for agriculture purposes.
“The new policy should be such that fertile land cannot be acquired for industrial or special economic zone purposes,” he said.