With less than a fortnight left before India’s maiden Formula 1 gets underway at Greater Noida, farmers whose land was acquired for the project are getting desperate. They have issued ‘an open letter’ to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, threatening to disrupt the event if their demands are not met in a week.
This is, however, only the latest of the several similar threats issued by farmers in the past. “There’s nothing alarming. There’s no threat to the race. A lot rides on the event and the farmers are only trying to browbeat the organisers and the administration,” said a senior official of Jaypee Sports International, the organiser of the event. District magistrate Hridesh Kumar said, “Nobody will be allowed to obstruct the event. Additional forces are being deployed as precaution.”
About 200 farmers of more than 20 villages along Yamuna Expressway held a panchayat at Atta Gujran on Sunday.
They alleged that the land had been acquired for industries, but no such unit was set up. They sought an increased compensation as was done in some areas of Noida Extension.
However, Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority officials said the land was acquired for a special development zone and the money had been paid to farmers. “Our demand is that the Jaypee Group should adopt adjoining villages and carry out development works and provide jobs in future projects,” said Virendra Dhada, convenor of Rashtriya Kisan Union.