Staff Correspondent

While some are against -acquisition, others want good price for the land

Road corridor to come up in Jokatte village

Price was fixed arbitrarily, say aggrieved people

MANGALORE: Residents of Jokatte Gram panchayat, close to the Bykampadi Industrial Estate, have opposed the move to acquire their lands for the Mangalore Special Economic Zone’s road corridor. However, the residents, who staged a protest in Jokatte village on Sunday, with the support of the Karnataka Pranta Raitha Sangha and the Democratic Youth Federation of India, appeared to be divided over the issue.

While some expressed their dissatisfaction over the price fixed for the land acquisition, others said they were apposed to the acquisition per se. Nevertheless, the agitators launched a signature campaign against the acquisition.

Demand

Speaking to presspersons, several residents said that the Rs. 8,000 for a cent of land fixed by the district administration was not acceptable to them. They argued that the land prices in the area were much higher and demanded that the price be fixed at a minimum of Rs. 25,000 a cent.

Former gram panchayat member Jaya Shetty said that land would not be sold under any circumstances, whatever be the price offered. “Just leave us alone and do not create problems for us,” he said.

Allegation

They alleged that the Deputy Commissioner, who was supposed to convene a public hearing to fix the price of the land, did not conduct any such meeting.

“The price was fixed arbitrarily without taking any of us into confidence,” said a resident.

No communique

Members of the gram panchayat alleged that the district administration and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) did not pass on any communiqué or seek consultation with the local body.

Grouse

Addressing the agitators, district president of the DYFI Muneer Katipalla said, “There has been a great influx of large and polluting industries in the district. But, neither the common man nor the region has benefited from these industries.”

Citing the case of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd., he said that despite being a public sector undertaking, the refinery had never taken larger public interests into consideration.

“Its policies and practices have been anti-people since its inception. Now, the MSEZ is threatening to follow in the same direction,” he said.

Advice

Mr. Katipalla advised the residents to part with their land only on their own terms. “Once you sell your land, nobody will care about you. Whatever bargaining has to be done should be done now,” he said.

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