Move to de-acquire land for DMIC project hits Alwar farmers
In January, Rajasthan government had decided to de-acquire about 993 hectare land in five villages of Alwar
Sunil Chauhan, a farmer of Gugalkota village in Alwar district, is a dejected man. In 2015, the state government had acquired his seven bigha (1.13 hectare) land as part of the land acquisition for Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project.
However, in a sudden move in January, a few days before the state by-elections, the government decided to de-acquire about 993 hectare land in five villages in the district, giving a blow to Sunil and other farmers, whose land was acquired earlier.
“The value of the land now is about ₹30-35 lakh per bigha while I was getting more than double that amount as per the compensation formula (implemented after the new Land Acquisition Act 2013),” Sunil said.
“The government rules did not allow them (the farmers) to either sell the land or mortgage it to meet emergencies such as marriage in family or some medical emergencies. Today, the land prices have fallen by more than 50% as compared to the compensation amount that was being offered by the state government at that time,” said Shayam Singh Chauhan, the former sarpanch of Gugalkota.
The move has affected about 500 farmers in Alwar district, who have been awaiting compensation for the land acquired by Rajasthan government for DMIC project. Many farmers, who had borrowed money at hefty interest rates from money lenders hoping that they will return the money after getting compensation, have been left in the lurch. As a result, marriages have been postponed in at least two households, Shayam Singh said.
The entire village had boycotted the Lok Sabha by-elections held on January 29 in protest against the government decision.
With the state government sanctioning ₹400 crore in the budget for the land acquisition for DMIC, the project is finally set to move forward in Rajasthan. However, out of 10 villages earmarked for land acquisition, the land will be returned to farmers in five villages of Gugalkota, Choubara, Jaunayachakhurd and Shajahanpur and Bawar. A notification in this regard is yet to be issued.
“The process of acquisition of about 500 hectares land in five villages in Alwar district will get underway once we receive the written order. The land will be de-acquired in the remaining five villages once the notification is issued,” an official familiar with the matter said.
Mudawar (Alwar) MLA Dharampal Choudhary termed the delay in compensation and the recent government move to de-acquire land as “unfortunate”.
“The land has been de-acquired where the compensation amount was higher, but the prices have fallen by 40-50%, since then,” he said.
The government had initially earmarked 1,426 hectare land in 10 villages in Bhiwadi and Nimrana region in Alwar district to be acquired at an average per hectare cost of ₹1.91 crore amounting to a total cost of ₹2,732 crore.
The $100 billion (₹6,42,550 crore) project is being built along the high-speed DFC that would reduce the time for goods movement between Dadri near Delhi to Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai from current 14 days to about 14 hours.
The land acquisition process for Khuskhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana (KBN) industrial smart city started in 2012 and in April 2015, the government was able to declare compensation amount.
While the farmers in some villages protested, others were initially elated at the high compensation amount (as per new Land Acquisition Act 2013).
The state government had been negotiating with financial and housing institutions for ₹2,700-crore loan for more than a year, but nothing came out of it and finally the chief minister announced allocation of ₹400 crore in the 2018-19 budget presented on February 12.