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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Land heat on IIT campus project

- Farmers demand uniform damages

A farmers association on Thursday stopped construction work of the permanent campus of IIT-Patna in Bihta while demanding uniform compensation package to landlosers.

Around 100 members of the Bihar Rajya Kishan Sabha demonstrated in front of the main gate of the proposed campus, around 40km southwest of Patna.

They alleged the compensation package offered to the farmers who gave their land for the project was varied.

The associations main demand was uniformity in the compensation package to farmers under the state governments one-project-one-rate policy.

The campus is coming up on 500 acres and the area has seen a construction boom ever since the Union government decided to set up the institute.

Ram Jivan Prasad Singh, the associations general secretary, said: There has been a sharp variation in the compensation package which the farmers received from the state government around two-and-a-half-years ago after it acquired land for the construction of the institute.

He added that while some farmers got Rs 40,000 for a cottah, others received more than Rs 1 lakh per cottah. He claimed that according to the government rate, every farmer should get Rs 1.20 lakh for a cottah, which is still less than the market rate of Rs 5 lakh per cottah in Bihta.

The state science and technology department acquired the land and handed it over to the IIT-Patna administration for starting construction, said the departments principal secretary, Arun Kumar Singh.

He added: The compensation package was given to the farmers depending upon the site of the acquired land. If the land was near the Patna-Aurangabad highway, the farmer was given a bigger amount while those whose land was situated on the outskirts were given a less amount.

IIT-Patna director A.K. Bhowmick, at present in Chandigarh, said construction work at the campus is going on with the boundary wall and foundation work for the building being completed.