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J&K farmers up in arms over land acquired by govt for semi-ring road

The landowners have threatened to launch an agitation once the work starts and are demanding revocation of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Acquisition Act passed in 1934.

india Updated: May 21, 2018 15:07 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
J&K farmers,farmers up in arms,land acquired
“For us, this project will bring loss. We will lose our orchards of apple, apricot, plum and paddy fields. We don’t want development at the cost of our agriculture and horticulture land,’’ Ali Mohammad Wani, a land owner from Wadwan Budgam, said.(HT File/Representative image )

The farmers and villagers whose land has been acquired by the J&K government for 42 kilometre Srinagar semi ring road project are up in arms against the government for getting lesser compensation and losing their primary agricultural land.

“For us, this project will bring loss. We will lose our orchards of apple, apricot, plum and paddy fields. We don’t want development at the cost of our agriculture and horticulture land,’’ Ali Mohammad Wani, a land owner from Wadwan Budgam, said. “Our land is being taken forcibly. Government is playing with the future of our children. At least, government should compensate the farmers properly.’’

The landowners have threatened to launch an agitation once the work starts and are demanding revocation of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Acquisition Act passed in 1934.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone of the semi ring road during a function at Sher-i- Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on Saturday. The road funded by Centre and to be constructed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will ease traffic congestion in the city. The first phase of the 42.10km road will be constructed at Rs 939.41 crore and will be completed in three years. This new road will traverse 52 villages and six districts including Pulwama, Budgam, Baramulla, Srinagar, Ganderbal and Bandipora. Officials said second phase of the project will be taken up after its completion.

The government needs to acquire more than 10,000 kanals for this road project. Farmers are alleging that almost all the land which is being acquired is agriculture and horticulture land. “Our demand is simple, first don’t take our agriculture or horticulture land or revise the compensation,’’ said Raja Muzuffar Bhat, whose 13 kanals of land has been acquired by the government. Bhat alleged that land is being taken away ‘forcibly’. “We have already moved the court to seek justice,’’ he said.

Bhat who is also the convener of the Semi Ring Road Land Owners Welfare Association said they want revocation of existing Jammu and Kashmir Land Acquisition Act. “The Act was introduced over eight decades ago and has never been revised,’’ he said, adding, farmers should be provided same compensation that NHAI gives to farmers in other states. “The NHAI gives four times more compensation to farmers, people whose land or structures are affected in other parts of the country. In Jammu and Kashmir, they give us peanuts because of the land acquisition act.’’

Farmers are complaining that their prime agriculture land is being taken away, especially in Budgam district. “Farmers and growers are taking compensation forcibly and under protest,’’ said Bashir Ahmad, a farmer from Pulwama whose land comes under the new road project.

Ahead of PM Modi’s visit to J&K, these farmers sat on a dharna in the city on Friday and warned of serious consequences if compensation rates are not revised.

Farmers also sought intervention of J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti during a meeting with her. “We apprised J&K chief minister about our fears, though she assured us help, but nothing has happened till date. It is a serious issue and government should take note of it.’’

First Published: May 21, 2018 15:07 IST