Protests against the proposed bypass road for NH 8D near Junagadh got a fresh impetus on Monday,with a group of farmers submitting a memorandum to the in-charge collector of Junagadh district,demanding that land acquisition for the project be stopped immediately.
Under the banner of Khedut Heet Rakshak Samiti,farmers of 10 villages,located along the new 19-km-long bypass road to the north-west of Junagadh,submitted the memorandum to Dilip Rana,the in-charge collector of Junagadh district.
Farmers of 10 villages rejected the illegal process of acquiring their land. In spite of that if farmers land is forcibly acquired and any farmer takes extreme step in the process,the responsibility of such an incident will lie with the district collector,land acquisition officer and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the memorandum stated.
The NHAI and the Junagadh district administration had undertaken a joint measurement survey (JMS) for the new bypass road in June this year. However,farmers contend that the authorities did not follow due procedure while starting JMS.
According to state government norms,JMS cannot be undertaken during monsoon,and if such a process has to be completed during the rainy days,farmers have to be informed a week in advance. But we got the notice just three days before work began, Kalu Zala,president of Khedut Heet Rakshak Samiti (KHRS),said .
A circular issued by settlement commissioner and director of land records of the state in August 2004 (a copy of which is available with The Indian Express) makes it mandatory for authorities to inform farmers a week in advance,in writing,to conduct a survey on their agricultural land during monsoon. The farmers also alleged that the NHAI had misrepresented facts about land,while seeking environmental clearance for the new road.
The NHAI has said that the land to be acquired for the new bypass is barren land. However,in reply to a RTI application,the Junagadh Agricultural University has revealed that the land is fertile, Hamir Ram,a farmer,said.
The in-charge collector said that he would seek details of the matter and take suitable action. According to the memorandum,230 land-holders are likely to be affected by the new alignment of the bypass. Hundreds of farmers have been detained by police as JMS went on from June 16 to 29.