The Surat district administration on Wednesday acquired 13 hectare of land at Antroli village in Surat district for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, and gave Rs 32 crore as compensation to the land-losing farmers.
According to project officials, the bullet train station for Surat will be built at Antroli village.
“We have to acquire 39 hectare of land at Antroli, out of which we have acquired 12 hectare,and we are slowly working on to convince the remaining farmers to give up their land. In Surat district, a total of 140 hectare is to be acquired for the bullet train project. We are speeding up land acquisition. Till now we have given Rs 77 crore through RTGS to 135 farmers whose land had been acquired. At present, we are giving them 80 per cent of the amount, while the remaining amount will be given after the documentation process gets completed,” said J P Mayatra, land acquisition officer of Surat.
According to the officials involved in land acquisition, the government is compensating farmers four times the amount of the 54 per cent above the 2011 jantri rates.
With farmers in Surat, Valsad and Navsari districts opposing land acquisition, officials and surveyors are facing great difficulties in acquiring land for the ambitious bullet train project. According to sources, officials had been camping at Antroli village trying to convince farmers to give up their land.
“We are farmers and we cannot fight against the government. Our demand was that we should get amount close to the prevailing market value of the land. Moreover, the project is for the development of the state, so we had to compromise,” said Praveen Mehta of Antroli village whose 2.5 bigha land has been acquired for the project.
“The land was of our ancestors and I and my brothers were tilling it. Now, we have got 80 per cent compensation amount of Rs 6 crore. We all brothers will distribute it among ourselves and we have also planned to purchase another farming land in neighbouring interior villages,” he added.
Meanwhile, Khedut Samaj which has been leading a campaign against the land acquisition said the farmers allowed their land to be acquired since the government has compensated them at prevailing market rate.
“Some of the farmers of Antroli village have given their land for the bullet train project, but a majority of them have refused to do so. We have checked and found that farmers whose land is on prime locations have got compensation as per the jantri rates, and the amount is close to the market value. That’s why they have given their land,” said Jayesh Patel of Khedut Samaj.
The Khedut Samaj along with hundreds of farmers have filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court seeking cancellation of land acquisition.