Staff Correspondent

Seeks withdrawal of land acquisition proceedings

  • Bid to sell farm land at "subsidised' rates to builders
  • Acquisition of land has evoked public resentment

    DEHRA DUN: Senior BJP leader and former Uttaranchal Chief Minister Nitya Nand Swami began a "fast unto death" at Kargi here on Monday seeking total withdrawal of land acquisition proceedings as the Government was trying to forcibly acquire prime agricultural land of farmers to sell it at "subsidised' rates to certain builders and colonisers from other States.

    Mr. Swami wondered what the Government meant by announcing that only 193 hectares would be acquired and the proceedings to acquire another 443 hectares spread over 24 villages around the city had been quashed. "I will continue my fast till the Government quashes all land acquisition proceedings," Mr Swami said, adding that the way prime land had been acquired over the past four and a half years of Congress rule and sold or allotted against token payments of one rupee to several influential parties was only the tip of the iceberg of corruption in the State.

    Uttaranchal Transport Minister Hira Singh Bisht had told journalists on Sunday that acquisition proceedings for 443 hectares had been quashed and the Mussoorie Dehra Dun Development Authority had been asked to immediately return the loan it had taken from the bank for this purpose. The Government would reimburse the interest accrued on such a loan to the MDDA.

    Acquisition of agricultural land by the MDDA over the past four years has evoked massive public resentment. The sudden love for farmers shone by Mr. Swami or the Government's decision to quash the proceedings is seen by political observers here as a move to please the voters before the State Assembly polls due early next year.