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Clash cloud on land deal

- Officials face protest in Bihta, two farmers detained

Patna, Feb. 1: The farmer-government conflict over land acquisition, even for two educational institutes, resurfaced on a day officials of the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) went to Bihta for physical possession of 211 acres it had already acquired in 2011.

Possession of the land, meant for the setting up of permanent campuses of the institutes, has been a contentious issue in the last three years.

“The problem is related to payment of compensation against land, which has been acquired. The Biada stated that 80 per cent of the farmers have received payment for the plots and the process is still continuing. However, a few of them are protesting unnecessarily and some others want revised payment for their plots. The physical possession of the land amid all this has started today,” a Biada official, requesting anonymity, said.

At least five senior officials of the Biada, accompanied by a huge force of policemen and district administrative officers, went to the Dumra area of Bihta, around 40km west of Patna.

Sources said two of the agitating farmers were taken into custody. The sources in the police said the farmers, who did not have an organisation though, protested against acquiring agricultural land.

“Of 211 acres, 100 have been earmarked for the National Institute of Technology (NIT) campus, which is presently running at Ashok Rajpath in Patna. Another 25 acres have been earmarked for the Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT). Rest of the land has also been given to some educational and technical institutions. The state government is trying to develop the area into an educational and technical hub,” the Biada official said.

Sources in the NSIT said that they had got the physical possession of land in Dumra last year but were yet to start construction. “The land was given to us in 2013 after we paid the required amount to the Biada. The NSIT will be coming up with the Netaji Subhash Medical College and Hospital in Bihta,” an NSIT official said.

In case of the NIT, the wait has been for more than two years now. Ashok Dey, the NIT director, said they had got a letter in 2011 about the possession of 100 acres in Bihta.

“However, the registration of land was not done. The process of registration was started by the science and technology department but it was stopped suddenly because of certain legal issues. We have a meeting with department officials on February 3 regarding the same. We have done our part by paying the building construction department in advance for construction. We will finalise an architect firm by February 9,” he said.