Ghaziabad: Congress leader Raj Babbar stopped from joining farmers’ protest in Mandola
The farmers at Mandola village have been on a sit-in protest demanding a hiked compensation for their land which was acquired for the development of UP Housing Board’s Mandola housing scheme in Ghaziabad.noida Updated: Jan 10, 2018 22:31 IST
The Ghaziabad police on Wednesday detained UP Congress chief Raj Babbar and his supporters from proceeding to Mandola in Loni to support the farmers’ agitation.
The farmers at Mandola village have been on a sit-in protest demanding a hiked compensation for their land which was acquired for the development of UP Housing Board’s Mandola housing scheme in Ghaziabad.
The scheme, for which land acquisition started in 1998, is spread over 2,300 acres. The government planned to develop nearly 12,000 housing units under the scheme, which has already been delayed owing to farmers’ agitation. Nearly 4,000 flats are still under construction while registry for only 4,000 flats has been done so far.
“The housing board is trying to grab land by invoking the emergency clause. Officials are presenting a wrong picture. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had asked us to take lawyers’ opinion on the matter and they said the demands of farmers are valid. The farmers are angry with BJP leaders. We asked officials to let us meet the farmers but they denied us permission. We even asked officials to come with BJP leaders and hold talks with farmers,” Babbar said.
The Congress leader and nearly 110 of his supporters were later taken to Vasundhara guest house from Loni and released by Wednesday evening.
“The farmers also want their leader Manvir Teotia to be allowed into Mandola. We are with the farmers and we want them to get a hiked compensation apart from 20% of the developed land,” he added.
However, officials of UP housing board said the compensation given to farmers was decided by mutual consent.
“They (farmers) collected nearly Rs 1,000 crore in 2010. Now, they are demanding new rates as per the new Act. They had also moved the court but lost. Now, a small group is protesting at the site and trying to hamper work,” said Mahendra Prasad, deputy commissioner, UP housing board.
“We have asked them to either discuss the issue with us or approach the court. But they are protesting with unclear demands,” he said.
Farmers said they will continue with their sit-in protest till their demands are met.
“We are holding our protest since December 2, 2016. We want compensation as per the 2013 Act and also 20% of the developed land. As per the new Act, we will be able to get four times the circle rate. Farmers have got compensation for 90% of their land. We will continue our agitation,” said Neeraj Tyagi, a farmer leader from Mandola.
Officials said since the work at the site has been hampered for so long, nearly 1,200 allottees have taken a refund of their money.
“Farmers are demanding a hiked compensation with no valid ground. Still, the government formed a committee, headed by divisional commissioner, but farmers are not coming forward for talks,” said Ritu Maheshwari, district magistrate.