Farmer-government stand-off continues in Uttar Pradesh


Lucknow : The stand-off between farmers and the Uttar Pradesh government continued in Aligarh Wednesday, with protesters refusing to accept the enhanced compensation offered in lieu of their land acquired for building the Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway.

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The three-week old agitation, which was expected to be withdrawn in the wake of the revised government offer made by Chief Minister Mayawati’s special envoy and state cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, was further intensified with the farmers sinking their differences and resolving to fight unitedly.

The “deal” that the government claimed to have struck with the protesting farmers has been completely rejected by them.

Farmer leader Ram Babu Kathelia, whose arrest had sparked off violence, leading to firing by the police that left three dead, has also made startling revelations after his release Tuesday.

“I was subjected to physical torture and threatened with dire consequences so I’m not in a proper mental state to talk,” he told a gathering of farmers in Tappal, where the agitation continues.

As against the earlier offer of Rs.449 per sq metre, affected farmers were given a revised offer of Rs.570 per sq metre. An additional compensation was promised in case of value addition to the land such as crop, trees or water facility.

The chief minister had also decided to enhance the ex-gratia payment of Rs.5 lakh to the kin of each of those killed in the violence to Rs.10 lakh and Rs.2 lakh to each of the injured.

The 165-km long Yamuna Expressway, which is expected to reduce the driving time between New Delhi and Agra to just about 90 minutes, will pass through the districts of Gautam Buddha Nagar, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Mathura and involved acquisition of land in as many as 115 villages.

A total of 2,500 hectares is to be acquired for the development of the expressway – 500 hectares each in Noida, Aligarh and Agra and 1,000 hectares in Gautam Buddha Nagar.