As many as 27 farmers in Surat gave away their lands for the bullet train project after the district administration paid them over Rs 23 crore as compensation on Thursday.
These farmers were called at a programme at Vaktana village in the afternoon where the amount was transferred to their respective bank accounts. This was carried out under the supervision of Surat District Collector Dr Dhaval Patel. The authorities acquired 25,440 square meters of land from these farmers for the project.
The beneficiaries included 17 farmers of Vaktana village, two farmers of Goja village and eight farmers of Bonand village.
Several farmers of the neighbouring Antroli village, who were present at the event, showed willingness to give away lands for the project based on such amount of compensation. Officials involved with the project and of the land acquisition department were also present at the event.
Talking to The Indian Express, Patel said, “We had on Monday carried out a camp in Vaktana village where these farmers had shown their willingness to give their lands for the bullet train project. Our officials collected all the land related details from them and also their account numbers. Today, we gave them Rs 23 crore and acquired 25,440 square meters of land. We have given them 80 per cent of the compensation amount. The compensation amount is commensurate with the market value of the land. There are other farmers in neighbouring villages who had shown interest in giving their lands. The farmers were happy after they got the amount. In the coming days, we will carry out such camps in different villages in the district to take permission of the farmers (to take their lands for the project) and later compensate them.”
Several farmers of south Gujarat have been agitating over land acquisition for the project. Some had even filed petitions before the Gujarat High Court. There were as many as 1,200 affidavits filed in the High Court in this regard by farmers. They have taken out rallies in Surat and other parts of the state under the banner of Khedut Samaj, Gujarat, besides submitting memorandums to district collectors. Opposition by farmers had even prevented government officials to measure land for the project in Surat and south Gujarat.
Talking to The Indian Express, Khedut Samaj, Gujarat, president Jayesh Patel said, “We are warning those farmers who are giving their lands for bullet train project as they will regret their decision and the amount they got from the government. We have faith in the judicial proceedings and the farmers will get the amount as per the market value. We appeal to the farmers to not believe in the false promises of the government.”
Sanjay Mehta, a resident of Vaktana village who got Rs 70.41 lakh for some part of his land, said: “Nobody will be happy to give their ancestral land to the government as it is our livelihood and we are attached to it. The government had taken some portion of the land, and remaining four portions have been left out. We gave our land because we cannot fight with the government. If we don’t give our land they will forcefully take it, so why not take some amount and give the land? With the amount that I have got, I cannot purchase one bigah of land in neighbouring areas as the prices are in crores. I will deposit this amount in the bank and will use the interest to meet the expenses.”