Staff Correspondent

‘Though farmers have an emotional bond with their land it is difficult for them to say no to money’

MYSORE: Farmers in and around Mysore city are in a dilemma over whether to part with their land if they are offered a “lucrative” price by the Government. While some are prepared to sell their land, others are in two minds whether to accept the “good” money offered by private and public players.

While the dilution of norms for the conversion of agricultural land for industrial purposes has facilitated both private and public players to buy farmlands, the plans of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government to lift the ban on purchase of agricultural land by non-agriculturists will open the floodgates, said president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) K.S. Puttanniah. Mr. Puttannaih said that though farmers had an emotional bond with their land it was difficult for them to escape the lure of money. The KRRS had taken up the issue seriously, he added. “This development will be detrimental to farmers in the long run and may lead to food crisis. KRRS will take up this issue in its working committee meeting scheduled on November 4,” he said.

According to KRRS district leader Belagola Subrahamanya, a whopping 56,000 acres of land has been registered at the office of sub-registrar in the past few years and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) alone had acquired over 12,000 acres of land. While authorities were de-notifying land to help developers, they were recklessly notifying land belonging to farmers, he alleged.

Mr. Subrahamanya said that farmers in and around Varuna canal were alleging that KIADB which was keen on acquiring agricultural land adjoining the canal entered its name along with that of farmers in the Right of Tenancy and Cultivation (RTCs) records soon after issuing 4 (1) notification.

“Our RTCs shows that land has been acquired by KIADB. This has caused serious problems for farmers in availing any facility from banks and financial institutions,” said Swamy, a farmer from Kadakola.

About 240 acres of land in Kadakola have been acquired by KIADB, according to the RTCs. The KIADB has begun acquiring land in Kochenahalli and Kadakola to promote a textile park. Land is being acquired by the KIADB in Adakanahalli Hundi, Tandavapura, K.S. Hundi, Kochanahalli, Himmavu, and K.M. Doddi villages. When the issue was raised by farmers in a public hearing programme convened by KIADB recently, the KIADB authorities gave an assurance of setting things right. The farmers said that they would not part with their land under any circumstances. While the farmers are against acquiring land in the Varuna canal area, they are prepared to part with 735 acres of land for the purpose of Mandakalli airport works in case the Government offered more compensation. Though Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan had announced Rs. 60 lakh for an acre of vacant land acquired for Mandakalli airport, besides a special package for Dalits who would lose their source of livelihood, the KRRS is demanding Rs. 1.5 crore an acre as compensation. However, Mr. Manivannan rejected the demand on the grounds that the price had been fixed on the basis of the prevailing market rate at Mandakalli and surrounding areas.

When asked about the contradiction in the stand of KRRS with regard to parting of farming land, Mr. Puttanniah said that whatever the KRRS’s stand was, farmers were being lured by both private and public parties by offering huge amounts of money.