The Haryana government seems reluctant to go ahead with the setting up of the Industrial Model Township (IMT) in riot-hit Gohana of Sonepat district for which the previous Congress-led government had already started the process to acquire 3,300 acres of land in five villages.
According to information, the government could not disburse the award of Rs 1,651 crore to the farmers within two years of the imposition of Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, following which the notification of Sections 4, 6 and 9 stood cancelled on February 26.
The move has proved a major jolt to around 600 farmers of five villages of Lath, Joli, Katwal, Bidhal and Bhainswal, who had already submitted affidavits to the government to provide their land for the project at Rs 48 to Rs 51 lakh per acre.
“The government is not interested to set up the project here due to the recent Jat agitation. Besides hitting the farmers, the move will also affect thousands of youths who were expecting jobs in this much-needed project of the region,” said a farmer, Dharampal, of Lath Joli village, whose 16 acres of agriculture land was included in the project.
When quizzed for reasons, he said: “Though the officials are saying the government could not provide required funds on time, we think the government does not want to invest in the Jat-dominated belts of the state, as Gohana remained the centre of the recent Jat agitation”.
The project was in the last stage of announcement of awards before February 27 after completing the legal process by notification of Sections 4, 6 and 9 of the Land Acquisition Act. However, the state government allowed to acquisition process to lapse by not completing the legal process of announcing awards within two years after notification of Section 6 of the Act on February 27, 2014.
When contacted, district revenue officer Suresh Kumar said: “As per the rules, the project stands cancelled on February 26, as the two-year period expired that day. The farmers are willing to offer their land for the project and around 3,300 acres was required for the first phase of the IMT at Rs 51 lakh (no litigation) per acre.”
“We worked hard for the project and met the chief minister and officials. Even 80% of the farmers are ready to give their land for the future of their children and they submitted affidavits, but now the government has refused to disburse the award,” said another farmer, Rai Singh, of Joli village.
Revenue department officials also cited shortage of funds for the delay in disbursement of awards, but the farmers are blaming the government for backing out due to riots and violence during the Jat stir.
When contacted BJP’s Sonepat MP Ramesh Kaushik said: “The disbursement of awards got delayed due to agitation, but still we are hopeful of getting the project in Sonepat and we will talk to the farmers, who are ready to provide their land to avoid long procedure of land acquisition again.”