After holding demonstrations in Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka, the Janata Dal (Secular) president, H.D. Deve Gowda, will stage a protest in the national capital Delhi against the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Gowda said he, along with a large delegation of farmers from villages along the expressway project, would stage a sit-in on March 10 and 11. He and about 1,500 farmers affected by the “irregular” acquisition of land would travel by train from Bangalore to stage the demonstration at Jantar Mantar.
A memorandum would be submitted to President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and leaders of all parties. “Invitations have been sent out to everyone who espoused the cause of farmers to come over to the dharna [venue] and address the gathering.”
Rejecting allegations that he was anti-development and anti-urban, Mr. Gowda recalled that the project was sanctioned in 1995 when he was the Chief Minister. “Problems arose after I shifted to national politics. The promoters diluted the spirit of the project and in collusion with unscrupulous officials and successive governments, hatched a conspiracy to acquire thousands of hectares of invaluable fertile land in an irregular manner.”
Alleging that the “irregularities” led to a loss of about Rs. 30,000 crore to the State exchequer, the former Prime Minister said he would seek to have a detailed discussion on the issue in Parliament before the recess on March 17.