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Tillers seek higher land compensation

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KHWAJA JAMAL   |   Published 18.10.11, 12:00 AM

Muzaffarpur, Oct. 17: Hundreds of farmers of Kudhani block of the district, situated along National Highway 77 (Muzaffarpur-Patna road), stormed the makeshift camp of the land acquisition department set up in Turki Teachers’ Training College today, seeking commercial compensation for their agricultural land.

Farmers belonging to Sakri, Madhol, Kafen, Balia, Vishunpur and Turki villages adjacent to NH-77 have been on the warpath under the banner of Four Lane Land Owner Kisan Sangharsh Morcha since long seeking commercial compensation of land after refusing to accept compensation offered to them at agricultural land rates.

The additional land acquisition officer, Ram Chandra Rai, along with other employees, organised the camp for on-the-spot verification of land and subsequent payment of compensation only at agricultural rates. Arvind Kumar Varun, a farmer from Vishunpur village, deplored that the registration department is charging the farmers on the basis of commercial nature of plot while they are disposing of the land.

“It is ironical that when we are providing land to the NHAI for road widening of national highway, the farmers are being offered agricultural rates,” said Varun.

Farmers squatted outside the main gate of Turki Teachers’ Training College to protest the high-handedness of the district authorities.

The land acquisition department has also decided to organise a similar camp in Balia village under Kudhani block on October 20 to offer farmers’ payment for agricultural compensation of land. Ram Vinod Choudhary of the morcha said the farmers are furious over the district administration’s move.

The district authorities have turned a blind eye to the cries of the farmers to facilitate them commercial compensation.

The farmers have been shuttling from pillar to post for the past one year to get commercial compensation but to no avail.

They have even approached chief minister Nitish Kumar who ordered land reforms secretary C. Ashokvardhan to conduct a thorough inquiry and facilitate commercial compensation to the farmers.

All the efforts have been futile though district magistrate Santosh Kumar Mall carried out on-the-spot verification of the land twice at the behest of the chief minister.

The assistant collector, Sudhir Kumar Singh, along with land acquisition officer Narendra Kumar Sinha, had visited the villages located on the flanks of NH-77 several times.

“The district officials lacked courage to examine the genuineness of the demand for commercial compensation of land,” said the president of Four Lane Land Owner Kisan Sangharsh Morcha, Ram Vinod Choudhary. Farmers have boycotted the move to provide compensation on the basis of agricultural value of land.

Then administration is trying to split the farmers by organising camps.

Members of the morcha are contemplating to chalk out aggressive plan of agitation to exert pressure on the state government for commercial compensation of land. Additional land acquisition officer Ram Chandra Rai said no farmer turned up to accept payment at agricultural rates and they strongly protested the move to organise camp. They have vehemently pleaded for commercial compensation of land, said Rai.

The large-scale protests have halted the construction of four-lane roads on NH-77. Farmers have refused to acquire land spotted for acquisition by the supervisors and the engineers of Gammon India Construction Limited engaged in constructing highway roads.

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