After withdrawing 36 out of 44 villages from the proposed Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region (MB-SIR) on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor,the state government,under pressure from farmers,is likely to increase farmers compensation to acquire land in eight villages to go ahead with the project.
The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) will increase the rates at which it acquires land from farmers.
Following assurance from the Narendra Modi government to hike the compensation,Khedut Heet Rakshak Samiti (KHRS),an informal organisation of farmers affected by the bypass project,called off its protest rally in Gandhinagar. It was to be held on Monday. The KHRS leaders were promised by the government that their interest will be taken care of.
We met the Chief Minister on August 22. He assured us that the government will see to it that farmers do get more compensation, said Pratapsinh Solanki,a representative of KHRS. Following an assurance from Modi,we cancelled our protest rally, he added.
Industries Department sources maintained that some land had been acquired and the process was on. The GIDC notification was issued in 2012. But as there has been agitation by farmers,the compensation rates are likely to be increased, said an official from Industries Department. The GIDC requires around 1,200 hectare of land for the project. So far,it has acquired only 200 hectare from farmers at the rate of Rs 500 per square metre. The stamp duty charges of this land is around Rs 120 per square metre.
The eight villages that will remain in the SIR are Bhagapura and Shihor of Detroj taluka,Hansalpur-Becharaji,Sitapur,Udhroj,Udhrojpura and Ukardi of Mandal taluka and Chandanki village of Becharaji taluka. The 36 villages that were excluded from the project on August 14 are from Detroj,Mandal and Dasada-Patdi talukas. We want industries closer to home. But at the same time,we should also be properly compensated for our land, said Solanki.
The farmers argue that they should get at least Rs 673 per square meter. It is the rate at which the government sold its wasteland to Maruti-Suzuki at Hansalpur. Hansalpur and these eight villages are under Mandal taluka in Mehsana district.
Farmers argue that their land is fertile and that it is under the command area of Sardar Sarovar Dam project. Besides,while Hansalpur is located 100 km from Ahmedabad,the cluster of their villages is only 60 km from the biggest city in Gujarat. According to farmers,while the stamp duty rates of Hansalpur is Rs 30,it is Rs 120 in their villages. The government had lost the case against farmers in Supreme Court in connection with the proposed cement plant by Nirma in Bhavnagar district last year. It softened its stand in the SIR case when it withdrew 36 villages from MB-SIR.