Farmers of five villages in southern Haryana have set October 2 as the deadline for the state government to return their land acquired for industrial development five years ago.
A total of 1,715 acres were acquired from 4,000 farmers of Garouli Khurd, Mohammedpur, Narsinghpur, Khandsa and Harsaru villages by the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) in 2006.
According to farmers, 10% of the acquired land was kept as sweat equity in the Reliance Industries-HSIIDC special economic zone. But, no development has taken place on the land so far. “First, the government has leased out the land to Reliance. It is in violation of public interest. Second, the land is not being used since then,” said Jagbir Malik, a lawyer.
Farmers held a mahapanchayat at Harsaru on Sunday and decided to ‘wage a battle’ if the government fails to address their concerns.
Thousands of farmers raised their hands in solidarity, authorising a core committee of all the five villages to file petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to challenge the acquisition.
“If the government does not agree, we will start massive protest from October 2. And that protest may got to any extent,” said Yashbir Singh, president of the villagers’ committee.
“We will stage dharnas, hold protests in front of the Prime Minister's house and Haryana chief minister's house. We are ready to face police,” said Antram Sharma, a farmer.
The mahapanchayat was also attended by several politicians, including JD(U) president and MP Sharad Yadav, former deputy speaker GC Gehlot, Indian National Lok Dal leader Ajay Chautala’s son Dushyant Chautala and Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldeep Bishnoi.
The mahapanchayat also decided to halt any construction activities on the acquired land.