Farmers who own land at Naya Qila have threatened to commit suicide if the government fails to suitably compensate for the 55 acres of land acquired from them for constructing a golf course. Though the land has been acquired by the government, it is still in the possession of the farmers pending suitable compensation.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Sreehari Babu, president, Farmers Association of Naya Qila, said the government had originally planned to acquire land for setting up a bird sanctuary way back in 1999 but later transferred it for constructing a golf course.
“We agreed to part with our land as a bird sanctuary was planned. However, it was decided to set up a golf course there. We approached the district administration several times seeking compensation for our land, but nothing came out of it,” said Mr. Babu.
Nearly 35 farmers, who owned land here, were cultivating paddy till the commencement of the golf course project. Later, they switched over to growing fodder due to insufficient water.
“We suffered huge losses when the golf course management stopped water supply to the fields,” said K. Yadiah, a farmer. He demanded that the government cancel the golf course project, which was only meant for the rich and the elite. The farmers accused the golf course authorities of threatening them to back off and allow the construction of the golf course. “If such a thing happens we will commit suicide en-masse,” Faheem Khan, another farmer, warned. Jasveen Jairath of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) said that the original extent of the golf course was about 200 acres, and that nearly 100 acres of land of three lakes - Shahtam lake, Naya Qila lake and Jamalikunta lake - had been encroached for the purpose.