The farmers of the district, whose land has been acquired for the 11-km long bypass, which forms part of the proposed four-laning of the Zirakpur-Bathinda national highway (NH-64), are disappointed at the delay in the payment of compensation.
Thousands of farmers of Badrukha, Sangrur, Uppali, Ram Nagar Sibia, Kammomajra, Mangwal and Sohian villages are complaining that the bank concerned has been deliberately delaying the payment as it is earning interest on the money transferred to it to be disbursed among the farmers.
According to information, a sum of Rs 529 crore, approved by the state government to be disbursed among farmers in Sangrur, has been deposited with the Sangrur branch of the HDFC Bank, but even after 70 days of the transfer of the money, it has not reached the farmers.
"They have already taken our priceless land and now we are being forced to make regular visits to the bank for money, but nobody is ready to listen to us," said a farmer Kala Ram of Badrukha village.
"The bank officials have told us that the money has already reached the bank, but we don't know why they are not giving it to the farmers," he added. When contacted, an official in the revenue department, on the condition of anonymity, said that the payment has been delayed as the Punjab Works Department has been holding scrutiny of the farmers and it is not yet complete.
"The scrutiny of Mangwal and Ramnagar Sibia villages has already been completed and the disbursement of compensation to farmers of these villages will be made soon, but farmers of other villages will get compensation after the completion of the scrutiny," he added.
Farmers are also complaining of a lot of paperwork for getting the compensation. "Along with lots of papers, we are told to bring the Namberdar of the village for identification, but it is not possible for every farmer to bring the Namberdar with him every time he comes," said a farmer Hardeep Singh.
Farmers are also unhappy with the government's policy of disbursing the compensation as per the Jamabandhi (fard), saying that it will cost them heavily as the land record has not been updated for long.
When contacted, Chetan Sharma, assistant manager of HDFC bank branch at Sangrur, said, "The money (Rs 529 crore) has reached the bank and we have disbursed about Rs 100 crore in the past two months. So, there is no delay on the part of the bank." Sangrur deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind said, "The matter is under the consideration of the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), the procedure of scrutiny of the beneficiaries may take time."
However, SDM Anita Darshi could not be contacted as her mobile phone was switched off. It may be recalled here that the four-laning of the national highway was the long-pending demand of the people of this region.
But, work on the project could not be started early despite the approval from the Centre as the land for the project could not be acquired in time.