The indifferent attitude of the state government towards their "genuine" demands has pushed Greater Noida's farmers to the edge. Although they have been staging protests and stopping construction of housing projects by private builders, they could not make much impact.
According to the protesters, they would strip down to underwear and shout slogans in front of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a legion of foreign delegates when they visit Greater Noida's India Expo Mart for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) summit in first week of May.
The farmers have been protesting for the last 27 days against the Uttar Pradesh government and the Greater Noida authority to press for their demands such as abadi land and land plots.
"The government and the authority have left us empty handed by forcefully acquiring our land and villages. Our future is bleak with no employment opportunities in the absence of land rights, so we have decided to go semi-nude before the PM," said Manveer Bhati, a Kisan Sangharsh Samiti leader.
On Monday, farmers of Khairpur and other villages brought their cattle and made a make-shift kitchen at the protest ground outside the authority office. The office is situated barely a kilometre away from the India Expo Mart where ADB is scheduled to take place.
Farmers of about 60 Greater Noida villages have been protesting to demand hiked 64% compensation, free hold status to their village abadi land, 10% developed plots, plots to landless farmers and village development, among others things. There are about 1,000 landless labourers in Greater Noida villages.
Authority officials say the farmers' demands are not practical. "If farmers are ready to negotiate with us and call off their protests, then we will initiate talks," said an official.
Farmers, whose land was acquired during the Mayawati regime, were expecting the Samajwadi Party would address their issues after coming into power. But for the last one year, compensation disbursement and 10% developed plot allotment work have come to a halt.
"Each village has about 50-60 landless labourers, who used to depend on farmers' crops for livelihood. They have no future as the government has already acquired the land (gram sabha land) and allotted the same to builders. If the authority does not allot housing plots to these labourers, we will keep protesting," said Bhati.
The farmers have threatened to create ruckus during the ADB summit if the authority keeps ignoring their problem. "We will not let the farmers disturb law and order during the summit," said a senior police officer.
Litigations and protests have taken a heavy toll on the realty sector in Noida and Greater Noida. The government had violated norms while acquiring land in Greater Noida, allege farmers.