Bitter Pill

No Country for Farmers

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Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, created a minor political storm in Kerala with his prescription for reducing unemployment in the state—get out of agriculture. At Emerging Kerala, a global investors meet conducted by the government, Ahluwalia said that instead of trying to preserve dying-out paddy fields, the thrust must be on sectors like industry and tourism. And immediately, both the ruling Congress-led front and the Left opposition started fuming. Congress leader VS Sudheeran said that the statement was a reflection of the sordid attempts of the land mafia to grab agricultural land. Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan said that it went against a law passed by the Assembly which prevents the use of paddy fields for industrial purposes.