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UP farmers’ agitation ends
Published on 17 Aug. 2010 11:28 PM IST
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The farmers’ agitation in Tappal town of Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district was withdrawn Tuesday after the government enhanced the compensation for land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway project.
The government also released from jail farmers’ leader Rambabu Katelia, as demanded by the protesters, District Magistrate K. Ravendra Naik said.
The compensation amount has been increased from Rs.449 per square metre to Rs.570 per square metre.
Compensation of Rs.10 lakh each will be given to the family members of the two farmers killed in the violence Saturday. The amount has been enhanced from Rs.5 lakh announced earlier.
The government has announced maximum relief to the farmers in view of their emotional attachment to their land, Naik said.
Under the agreement, the farmers can decide whether or not they want to give their land for a separate 500 hectare project of the Yamuna Expressway project. The farmers’ consent would not affect the expressway project, Naik added.
On Aug 14, two farmers died in police firing on farmers resisting the arrest of their leader Rambabu Katelia. In the clash, a police constable was also killed. The farmers torched the Jattari and Bajna police posts when the police attempted to arrest the farmers in a bid to crush the agitation.
The farmers were demanding higher compensation for the land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway. The farmers had earlier agreed to Rs.449 per square metre of land, but were demanding money on par with Noida farmers at the rate Rs.880 per square metre.
The farmers destroyed the site offices and walls erected to construct the expressway. Work on the expressway had come to a halt as the farmers demanded Katelia’s immediate release.
They also demanded Rs.25 lakh compensation each for the families of the victims killed in the firing.
The state government constituted the Yamuna Expressway Authority in 2001 to construct a road along the river Yamuna from Noida to Agra.
The Jai Prakash group was awarded the contract for the project. In the concessions for the developer, five land parcels of 500 hectares each were to be given to the company. Three land parcels are situated in Gautambudh Nagar and one each in Aligarh and Agra.
Just before the farmers’ protest in the Aligarh district, 500 hectares of land was being acquired from five villages -- Jikarpur, Kansera, Tappal, Siyarol and Jahangarh.
The project was originally to be completed in May 2013 but the deadline was advanced to March 2011.
Earlier, senior Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat Shashank Shekhar Singh, who was sent as Chief Minister Mayawati’s special envoy to Aligarh, Tuesday succeeded in defusing the crisis triggered by farmers going on the warpath over police firing and “inadequate” compensation.
Singh, the state’s cabinet secretary, struck a deal with the protesters around 1.30 a.m. by conceding their demand for a higher compensation for agricultural land acquired to build the Yamuna Expressway between Noida and Agra.
He also ordered immediate release of farmers’ leader Ram Babu Katheria, detained for the past two days.
Katheria formally participated in the discussions and agreed to a hike of about Rs.120 per sq metre in the compensation rate offered to the farmers. Earlier, he was insisting on parity in compensation with farmers of Noida and Greater Noida where the rate paid was about Rs.850 per sq metre.
As against the earlier offer of Rs.449 per sq metre, affected farmers would now be entitled to payment at the rate of Rs.570 per sq metre. An additional compensation would be given in case of value addition to the land such as crop, trees or water facility.
“We also conveyed the chief minister’s decision to enhance the ex gratia payment of Rs.5 lakh to kin of each of those killed in the violence to Rs.10 lakh,” said the cabinet secretary.
Two farmers died in police firing in Aligarh late Saturday when farmers clashed with the security forces demanding higher compensation. Several farmers were injured.
Singh also announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh to each of those injured.
In a further reassurance to the farmers, Singh told them: “No land will be acquired without a written consent of farmers. Even now if any farmer wishes to withdraw his consent he was free to do so.”
Singh along with Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Brij Lal late Monday rushed to Aligarh after the chief minister realised that the situation was getting out of hand and the two ministers detailed by her earlier failed to resolve the crisis.
Singh and Lal flew down to Aligarh by a special aircraft to virtually take over the negotiations from Mayawati’s cabinet ministers Chaudhary Laxmi Narain and Thakur Jaiveer Singh.
The deal was finally struck by Singh after prolonged heated discussions. The first announcement was release of Katheria, without which the settlement seemed impossible.
Earlier, following an uproar over the issue in parliament, Mayawati gave marching orders to all senior Aligarh officials, holding them responsible for precipitating the crisis. These included divisional commissioner, district magistrate, deputy inspector general of police and the senior superintendent of police.
The 165-km long Expressway, which is expected to reduce the driving time between New Delhi and Agra to just about 90 minutes, will pass through the districts of Gautam Buddha Nagar, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Mathura. It involves the acquisition of land in as many as 115 villages.
A total of 2,500 hectare is to be acquired for the development of the Expressway - 500 hectares each in Noida, Aligarh and Agra and 1,000 hectares in Gautam Buddha Nagar.

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