Protesters say industrial project near Bengaluru will impact 3,000 people, 387 families

Farmers continuing their protest against the proposed land acquisition by KIADB in Channarayapatna hobli of Devanahalli taluk on Wednesday.

Farmers continuing their protest against the proposed land acquisition by KIADB in Channarayapatna hobli of Devanahalli taluk on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Close to 3,000 people will get impacted by the proposed Haralur Industrial Development project and 387 families will become landless, say farmers protesting for the 94th day (as on Wednesday) in Channarayapatna hobli of Devanahalli taluk, near Bengaluru.

Villagers had roped in an NGO to study the impact of the project on them. Nandeesha, who is into sericulture, said, “I relied on agriculture after graduation and made a decent earning in integrated farming. These villages are known for sericulture. This taluk is also one of the leading producers of milk. The government should realise these things and drop the plans of acquiring land. Where will we go after losing our land ?”

Ramesh, a localite whose family property has also been notified, said that the State government did not carry out socioeconomic impact and environmental impact assessment prior to initiating the process. He added that promises made about job generation for local people is a farce.

Mr. Ramesh said, “When the Bengaluru airport was proposed, big promises were made about local people getting jobs. But the reality is something else. Those who got jobs at the airport are doing menial jobs. Near our village, after losing lands to the airport, 50-odd families shifted to Arishinakunte. They are in a sorry state. We do not want that to happen to us.”

Mohan, another farmer, said, “In the 1970s, after a long fight for the landless people, the State government had allocated gomala lands. People have been cultivating the land all these years. But now the State government is snatching lands in the name of industrial projects. Our only demand is from the government to drop the project.

Farmer Mukunda said that the government has failed to utilise the land that was previously acquired for industrial projects in and around Devanahalli. Muniyamma, who recently constructed a silk worm rearing facility, said, “All our family members are relying on agriculture all these years. Where will we go after losing everything? We do not want any projects to come here. All that we want from the government is to leave us alone.”

Minister speaks

However, when contacted, Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani claimed that 80% of the landowners are willing to give away the land notified. “As far as Devanahalli land acquisition is concerned, a majority of the landowners are ready to give away the land. They have already given applications expressing their willingness to accept the monetary compensation and take up the job offers as per their education. We will not acquire the land from the owners who are not willing to part with the lands. Due to outsiders’ pressure, they have resorted to protests,” he said.

Commenting on the project, he said that in the proposed industrial hub, aerospace and Defence parks will come up. “We are proposing to set up aerospace and Defence parks and allied sectors such as data centres, semiconductor and others will also come up. Around 15% of the land will be reserved for townships that will have residential complexes, hospitals, hotels, educational institutions and others,” the Minister said.

He added that similar protests were witnessed when land was acquired in Badami and Kudligi in the past. But the landowners had eventually agreed for the compensation. For the proposed acquisition, the per acre land cost for acquisition ranges from ₹1 crore to ₹1.2 crore.

He added that due to the measures taken by the State government, the State is leading in foreign direct investment and stands at number one position in ease of doing business. “We are holding a Global Investors’ Meet in November. Investors will invest in these proposed aerospace and Defence parks,” he said.

When questioned about not fully utilising the lands that were earlier reserved for aerospace and Defence parks in Devanahalli, the Minister said, “Earlier, over 1,000 acres was acquired and all are being utilised and facilities have already come up.” 

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 11:37:53 am |