Told to return compensation, 52 villages may boycott Haryana polls
Representatives of 52 villages around Manesar on Sunday held a panchayat at Dhana village to protest against the failure of the state government to provide relief to farmers of three villages in the area in a dispute over return of enhanced land compensation.
A larger panchayat will be held on October 13 to decide whether the residents of affected villages Bas Kusla, Bas Haria, Dhana and Kasan, all in Manesar, should boycott the upcoming assembly election or sit on an indefinite dharna, they said.
Around 1,400 acres of land from these four villages were acquired by the state government to set up IMT Manesar, an industrial township in 2002-03. Phases 2, 3 and 4 of the IMT have come up on this land. However, the farmers who were paid compensation for this land have been asked to return the excess amount of enhancement, based on a February 2019 Supreme Court order, after the state government filed a petition. “This amount is ₹7 lakh per acre, but when interest is added, the amount becomes around ₹35 lakh per acre, which is huge. How can the farmers pay such large amounts?” Jasbir Singh, an affected villager, said.
Candidates from different political parties also joined the protesters and assured them of their support in the protest. Independent candidate Rakesh Daultabad, Rishiraj Rana of the Jannayak Janta Party, Sonu Thakran of the Indian National Lok Dal and a representative of Kamalbir Singh, the Congress candidate from Badshahpur, were present at the panchayat.
In May as well, the residents of these villages had threatened to boycott the polls, but Pataudi MLA Bimla Chaudhary had promised them help, after which they had relented. “This time, we are prepared to do everything necessary to find a solution to this problem,” Devender Chauhan, an affected landowner, said.
According to the villagers, their land was acquired in 2003-04, and compensation was fixed at ₹2.25 lakh per acre. This amount was challenged in the court, and in 2011-12, a Gurugram court increased the amount to ₹28.15 lakh and directed the government to pay it. The farmers thereafter approached the Punjab and Haryana HC, which increased the compensation to ₹37.4 lakh per acre. Later, the amount was further enhanced to ₹41.4 lakh in 2018. However, a private company, which had bought the land from the state opposed the payment of enhanced compensation. In February 2019, the Supreme Court reduced the compensation to ₹29.77 lakh per acre and directed the farmers to refund the excess. The villagers now say that it is impossible to return the money.