Farmers block road at Kuditini

They protest against ‘very low' price for land identified for steel plant

Farmers from Kuditini and Hagarinadoni villages in Bellary taluk, under the banner of “Bhoo Santrastara Horata Samiti”, on Wednesday staged a rasta roko at Kuditini to protest against the “failure” of the Government to fix a higher price for their land (4,800 acres) to be acquired for setting up a steel plant by Arcelor Mittal.

The agitation came as a fallout of the “failure” of talks between farmers and the authorities concerned over the fixation of price for the land. At a meeting in Bellary on Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner B. Shivappa announced that Rs. 12 lakh was fixed for land along roadside and Rs. 8 lakh for those in the interiors.

The farmers expressed dissatisfaction stating that the price fixed was “very low” and demanded a higher price. Land losers also demanded that the process of mutation and updating of land records be started to include the names of land owners who were tilling land after a division in family assets. They also sought employment to each member of the families losing land, among other things.

The movement of vehicular traffic on National Highway 63 between Bellary and Ankola came to a standstill for over two hours because of the agitation.

The authorities, including those from the Police and the Revenue departments, succeeded in persuading the farmers to withdraw the agitation and told them that they would convey their demands to the Deputy Commissioner.

Meanwhile, farmer leaders from the two villages, while addressing a press conference, said that the price of the land was fixed without taking into consideration the demands put forth by the land losers

U. Basavaraj of the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha, on behalf of the farmers, said that the State Government and the district administration appeared to have been favouring the industrialists while ignoring the interests of farmers.

According to him, the prices announced were “very low” as the land value had gone up in the area and surrounding villages with several industries being established there.

He demanded that a higher price be announced for the identified land.

“It has come to our notice that in Chagnur and Siriwar, the authorities had taken the guidance value and the average price per acre of land based on the sale deeds for the past three years and arrived at a figure and added 10 times over it before announcing the price.

“If the same yardstick is to be applied here, the price per acre of land would be around Rs. 50 lakh.

“In the earlier case, the value was calculated for agricultural land. But in Kuditini and Haraginadoni and surrounding places, the authorities should consider that the land being acquired was in an industrial belt. Therefore, we demand that the Government fix Rs. 77 lakh per acre,” he said.

Mr. Basavaraj also said that the process of acquiring an additional 5,000 acres of land on behalf of Brahmani steels, owned by G. Janardhan Reddy, Minister for Tourism, had begun in Veni Veerapur, Kuditini, Kolagallu, Yerrangali and Siddamanahalli, and the land losers have also been demanding higher compensation.

The samiti had decided not to part with the land until all their demands, including higher price, was conceded by the Government.

They would stage protests to pressure the Government to fulfil the demands, he added.

Pollappa, Nagadevappa, Onkari and Harginadoni Sadashivappa were among the leaders present.

  • Farmers demand higher price for their land
  • They also seek employment for land losers

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