Monday, December 06, 2021

Chandigarh

Real estate boom versus food security doom

Yadavindra S Rana | November 18, 2021 05:58 PM

CHANDIGARH:After COVID-19 real estate boom is making headlines in the newspapers but there is
no mention of food security slowdown. A statistical analysis had found that hundred acres of
agriculture land in the Tri-city (Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula) that grew thousands tonnes of
grains have been converted to real estate.

According to rough estimate of revenue departments, in a
bid to develop these rural segments into mega cities, the authorities have acquired thousands acres
of agriculture land and displaced a number of inhabitant from their butter and bread. The real estate
may be a ‘boom’ for some but it has caused the rough and tumble transition leaving old people in
villages to find for themsleves alone and a number of villages have been presenting a deserted look
even in Himachal Pradesh.
Chandigarh has been developed over and area of 18, 170 acres having 23 villages’ agricultural
land. Approximately one lakh people have to struggle for food security in the city. In 1966,
Chandigarh had 5, 441hectares of cultivated land of 25, 000 inhabitants. It reduced to 1, 300 hectares
in 2005-06 and now city has only one per cent of agricultural land. According to official records,
while peopulation of periphery controlled area (Haryana portion) was 84, 143 residing in 154 villages
with rural population 74 per cent against 26 per cent of urban.
In 1972 the area under agriculture was 43 per cent and the built up land was one per cent.
Now the built up area has increased to more than 35 per cent which was earlier devoted to
agriculture. The two mega cities—Mohali and Panchkula—have been developed over 2, 000 sq. km
(approximately five lakh acres) land of 127 and 154 villages respectively.
According to rough estimate, the acquired land of Tricity could produce over 10 lakh quintals
of wheat that can feed thousands of people of the area and others. The process of acquiring land for
urbanization purposes continues without a thought. It has expanded its wings to Ropar, Banur,
Patiala on one side of Mohali and Pinjore, Kalka, Barwala on the other side of Panchkula.
“It may not pose an immediate problem for food security but its long term effect could be
disastrous, ” said the official of the Administration. According to the date of Agriculture Ministry
shows that as many as 20 states have reported decline in cultivated land to the extend of 7.90 lakh
hectares during the past one decade.
The changing face of tricity that moves direrctly from agriculture to the service sector—a
sector that only creates skilled jobs—will put the region on shaky ground and will the future
governments be able to ensure food security at home?
Some six decades ago, agriculture contribution to GDP was 44 per cent, industry 21 per
cent and service sector 35 per cent. During the past t wo decades, agriculture contribution in GDP
came down to 17 per cent and contribution of Industry and service sectors increased to 28 per cent
and 55 per cent respectively.
In this context of decreasing agriculture land, low agriculture growth, farmers’ distress
raise doubt about the validity of food security to the poor in the years to come. It is also said that
whether real easte boom will be a doom for country has over 125 crore of inhabitants for food
security. Some one has to sit some where and find some solution.

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