THE KHEDUT Heet Rakshak Samiti (KHRS), a farmers’ outfit that has been agitating for the last nine years against acquisition of their land for the construction of the proposed bypass road of National Highway 8D for the Junagadh city, on Monday said that it decided to call off the protest after the state government agreed to pay them compensation “four times higher” than the price of land on government records.
The farmers’ said that they are likely to be awarded compensation in a couple of days.
“The state government has in-principle agreed to award compensation four times higher than the price of that land on government records and has thus accepted our main demand. The local government officers in Junagadh have assured us that the compensation will be declared in a couple of days. After this assurance, we have decided to call off our nine-year agitation and we will not protest against the ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the project scheduled to be held on February 28,” Atul Patel, convenor of KHRS, told The Indian Express on Monday.
The announcement marks the culmination of an agitation by farmers of eight villages through which the proposed new bypass will pass. The National Highways Authority (NHAI) had proposed to build a new 20-km-long bypass starting from Vadal village on the northern outskirts of Junagadh city and ending at Shapur village on the western outskirts of Junagadh. However, farmers had raised objection against acquisition of their fertile land. The farmers had also moved the Gujarat High Court but the court had ruled against them. After that, the agitation focused on ensuring higher compensation for 247 farmers whose land is set to be acquired.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 provides for compensation to farmers four times higher than prevalent market rates in case their agricultural land is acquired for projects.
KHRS convenor Patel said that the government has assured to pay the compensation by February 27.
Junagadh District Collector Sourabh Pardhi told The Indian Express: “The compensation is under consideration so I cannot comment on it. But we are positively thinking for whatever solution we can find out, but exactly (what that will be), we have not decided. Whenever, we issue compensation, I will be in a position to comment on the issue.” He added the government would start issuing compensation from Tuesday onwards.