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Farmers want their land back, to move court

india Updated: Jan 23, 2012 01:20 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Sanjeev K Ahuja

Days after the Haryana government asked Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to return 1,383 acres of land in Gurgaon to Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), farmers, whose land was acquired, have decided to move court if the state government fails to return the land to them.

HSIIDC had acquired about 1,750 acres of land for expansion of IMT Manesar in 2004, but handed over 1,383 acres to RIL for RIL-HSIIDC (25,000 acre) SEZ (special economic zone) project in the form of 10% sweat equity.

The farmers expressed the apprehension that the government could sell the land off to private developers after receiving it from RIL.

The rates of land, which was acquired at the throw-away price of R20.25 lakh per acre in five villages in 2006, have shot up to about R8-9 crore for an acre.

The farmers from five villages — Harsaru, Garoli Khurd, Mohammadpur Jharsa, Nardingpur and Khandsa — on Sunday held a meeting in Garoli Khurd.

Surender Singh, former sarpanch of Garoli Khurd village, said, “We have decided to move court if the state government does not return the land to us as the IRL-HSIIDC SEZ for which it was acquired in 2006 is no more coming up. The deadline for the SEZ expires on March 31 and we will approach court formally to reclaim our land.”

After holding a meeting with Mukesh Ambani on January 17, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told HT that as the project failed to take off even after five years, the state government had asked Reliance to hand over the land to the state government. “However, we will have to work out the terms and conditions of handover,” Hooda had said.

Meanwhile, former Haryana chief minister Om Parkash Chautala, who visited Gurgaon on Sunday, assured the farmers that his government would de-notify entire 1,383 acres of land and return the same to the farmers, if voted to power.

“The land was acquired with the motive of floating an SEZ that is not happening. The Land Acquisition Act specifies that the acquired land should be returned to their owners if the motive for which it is acquired is not served. Haryana government should de-notify the acquisition and return the land to the farmers,” Chautala said.