Chhattisgarh farmers won’t give up land for food park that will host Patanjali, other companies
Chhattisgarh govt is acquiring land at Bijetala village at Rs 10 lakh per acre, which is four times the current value of land in the region.india Updated: Feb 09, 2018 14:49 IST
Citing loss of livelihood, 66 farmers of a village in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district have refused to give their land that is being acquired by the state government for setting up a food park for food-processing companies, including Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved.
The Chhattisgarh government is acquiring land at Bijetala village, 35 km from the district headquarters, at Rs 10 lakh per acre, which is four times the current value of land in the region.
It had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with three food processing firms to set up units at an estimated investment of Rs 762 crore in 2017.
Nearly 100 farmers have already agreed to give their land.
Of the total amount, Patanjali has promised investment of Rs 671 crore for a herbal-and-agriculturual processing unit that the government claimed will benefit two lakh farmers.
However, some of the farmers do not want to give away their land.
“We will become landless if our land is taken,” said Dhan Raj, a marginal farmer whose 2.5 acres of land is to be acquired.
“We don’t want money… If we have land, we can earn money and sustain ourselves,” said Kunj Lal Sahu, who heads a family of seven members.
Another farmer Poshan Lal Patel said when the project was announced, the entire village was against it, but after some government intervention, some farmers agreed. “The farmers who have given their consent have less than one acre of land each and they got a good amount of money,” he said.
Farmers who agreed to give their land said they had to do so as people, who have small land holdings around their land, agreed, “and therefore, I thought I will be stuck as I will not get a path (way) to reach my land”.
Sub-divisional magistrate Atul Vishwakarma said most of the farmers who have agreed, have large land holdings.
“If these farmers refuse to land acquisition, we will submit our report to the state government, and they will take the final call,” he said, adding that negotiations with farmers were on.
Activist groups like Chhattisgarh Bachaao Andolan and parties like Congress and Janata Congress Chhattisgarh have opposed forcible acquisition of land and threatened to protest.
Patanjali spokesperson, SK Tijarawala said land acquisition came under the Chhattisgarh government. “Our aim is to benefit farmers and the food processing park will give farmers a better price of their yield and also employment.”