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Farmers invite Mamata, Rahul

Farmers of Aligarh and neighbouring districts agitating for better compensation for land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway linking Delhi and Agra, have called upon Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to visit Tappal village.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2010 00:02 IST

Farmers of Aligarh and neighbouring districts agitating for better compensation for land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway linking Delhi and Agra, have called upon Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to visit Tappal village.

Tappal, in Aligarh district, is one of the venues of the farmers’ agitation.

The farmers got a boost on Thursday with Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Mahendra Singh Tikait promising to reach Tappal on Friday to support their agitation.

Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh is also expected to visit them on Saturday. “Singh will submit a report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the atrocities committed against farmers by the administration and forcible acquisition of land. Rahul Gandhi’s visit will be finalised after Digvijaya submits his report,” said former MP and state Congress leader Vijendra Singh.

“We have sent feelers to both the leaders but we are yet to receive acknowledgments from them,” said Satyapal Singh of the Kisan Sansharsh Samiti.

He said Banerjee had been invited as she fought against acquisition of land at Singur in West Bengal, forcing the state government to withdraw the acquisition.

In Agra, UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had held a meeting with farmers’ representatives on Wednesday night, offering an enhanced rate of Rs 580 per sq metre. This worked out to a hike of about Rs 120 per sq mt for land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway and related projects.

But the farmers by and large found the offer unacceptable and stuck to their demand for Rs 880 per sq metre — the rate paid for land acquired in Noida and Greater Noida.

Singh had also promised to have cases against the agitating farmers withdrawn by the district officials concerned.

Some farmers felt they should be free to decide whether to part with their land instead of being compelled to hand it over for the projects.