It's the KIADB that should talk to farmers and fix the price: samiti
Deputy Commissioner has already held two meetings with farmers
‘He can intervene only if the Government refers the matter to him'
BELLARY: Mallikarjun Reddy, convener of the Chaganur-Siriwar Neeravari Bhoomi Rakshana Horata Samiti, has taken exception to the Deputy Commissioner holding meetings with farmers to ascertain their views on the price fixed for land identified for the Bellary airport.
Mr. Reddy alleged that the Deputy Commissioner had no authority to convene the meetings but he was doing so by throwing all norms to the wind.
He said that even the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had directed him to adhere to the law.
Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, Mr. Reddy said that as per rules, the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) had to negotiate with farmers and fix the price of the land to be acquired. But the KIADB had made it clear, in a letter, that it had not convened any meeting and that the process of convening a meeting was in progress.
The Deputy Commissioner could intervene only when negotiations between the KIADB and the land-losers failed and after the Government referred the matter to him.
“But Deputy Commissioner B. Shivappa has already held two meetings with farmers, which violates the law,” he said and added that the SHRC, based on a complaint filed by the samiti, had sought a report from the Deputy Commissioner, besides directing him to adhere to the provisions of the KIADB Act.
‘Kept in the dark'
K. Nagabhushan Rao, general secretary of the district unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI), said that people had been kept in the dark about when the State Government constituted the Price Fixation Consultative Committee, headed by the Deputy Commissioner.
Mr. Reddy and Mr. Rao said the samiti had moved the court against acquisition of fertile irrigated land and making Ministers G. Janardhan Reddy and G. Karunakara Reddy party in their individual capacity. The court had given an opportunity to the public to explain their plight.
“As the matter is in court, Mr. Janardhan Reddy statement that he would get farmers to perform the ‘bhoomi puja' for the airport is wrong and shows scant respect for the judiciary,” Mr. Reddy said.
Mr. Reddy said SHRC chairman S.R. Nayak had taken exception to the Government's failure to respond to notice on the lathi-charge on farmers who were staging a “rasta roko” on February 15, 2009, and also for not attending a hearing.
He ordered that a notice be issued to the Chief Secretary to appear in person with a report on the incident on April 26.