Farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura district on Wednesday stopped a train and disrupted rail routes while joining in the statewide shutdown called by the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti for enhanced compensation for farmers' land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway, officials said.
A large number of farmers, backed by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stopped the Janata Express and squatted on rail tracks in Mathura district in protest against the state government's land acquisition policy.
"With the assistance of the district police, we were able to disperse the protestors and resume the rail traffic...The situation is under control," Government Railway Police (GRP) inspector Dori Lal told reporters in Mathura, some 300 km from Lucknow.
Heavy security arrangements have been made at the railway stations and other public places in view of the agitation, he added.
According to reports reaching the state capital, a large number of farmers also hit the streets in several cities, including Aligarh, Agra and Meerut, demanding higher compensation for the land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway.
"Senior police officials in the districts are keeping a close watch to prevent farmers from damaging railway tracks. The Delhi-Agra section of the national highway is also on watch as a large number of tourists take this route," an official said in Agra.
Business chambers and trade associations in the area are supporting the shutdown.
Several political outfits, including BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP), Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal are also supporting the farmers in their statewide shutdown. They have planned a rally near parliament Thursday.
Farmers in Uttar Pradesh have been agitating for higher compensation for their lands acquired for the Yamuna Expressway, which is expected to reduce driving time between New Delhi and Agra to about 90 minutes.
It will pass through Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida), Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Mathura districts, and involves acquisition of land in 115 villages.
A total of 2,500 hectares is to be acquired for the development of the expressway - 500 hectares each in Noida, Aligarh and Agra and 1,000 hectares in Gautam Buddha Nagar.
The compensation amount was increased from Rs.449 per square metre to Rs.570 per square metre. But farmers refused to budge from the demand for compensation at the rate of Rs.880 per square metre that was paid in Greater Noida.