A day after he attempted suicide at the Mantralaya by consuming rat poison, Dharma Patil, an 84-year-old farmer from Dhule district, is in critical condition. By late Tuesday afternoon, he was moved from St George Hospital to the JJ Hospital. Patil reportedly consumed poison alleging injustice by government authorities on compensation paid to him for acquiring his five acres of farmland for a thermal power plant.
According to family members, Patil, along with his son Narendra, 35, had come to the Mantralaya to meet Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule regarding increasing compensation to farmers who had given their land for the power plant. The meeting was suddenly cancelled, they found upon arriving. “I wanted to give letters to all the ministers concerned, I asked my father to wait in the Mantralaya.
When I returned after handing over the letters, he complained that he wasn’t feeling well. I called an ambulance. That’s when he told me he had consumed poison, while we were on our way to the state-run St George Hospital,” said Narendra, adding that he was unaware that his father had been carrying poison with him. His father was shifted to JJ Hospital on Tuesday.
Narendra said they have been fighting with government authorities for rightful compensation since 2016. Narendra and his father have 2.5 acre land each in Vikharan village in Sindkhed teshil of Dhule district. “The first notice for acquiring the land was given in 2012 and it was acquired in 2016. Our entire land is irrigated and we had 600 mango trees, drip irrigation for it, a borewell and a well. We have been given Rs 4.03 lakh compensation. But our neighboring farmer, who has less than two acre irrigated land had been given 1.89 crore compensation. It is an injustice to us who have given five acres of irrigated land,” said Narendra.
In the last week of December, Dharma Patil wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil and few other ministers. Complaining about the poor compensation, he alleged in the letter that an agent, in connivance with the government authorities, had sanctioned compensation to other farmers. “Hope you will give me justice. I expect you to give me justice in a month on the issue. Else, I will be forced to commit suicide,” he wrote in his letter to Fadnavis.
Narendra said his father has been running from pillar to post to get compensation as per norms since the last two years. “All government records are intact. We just want them to see the records and give us the compensation as per norms. That’s what we are demanding,” he said.
However, the government has issued a clarification stating that compensation has been given as per norms. “A proposal about giving Rs 10 lakh per hectare and interest amount as per government norms since January 2012 is under consideration,” it said. It further said that 825 hectare land is required for the thermal power plant in Vikharan and Methi villages in Dhule.