Farmers of Endergota village in Gujarat’s Valsad district on Friday tried to stop the officials of National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) from carrying out land measurement work for the high-profile Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, forcing police intervention. The incident comes a day after farmers at Bhatia village in the same district had not allowed officials of NHSRCL to conduct measurement work.
NHSRCL officials, who were measuring land that will be acquired for the project along with the officials of district Land Record Department, had to call police after farmers from Endergota village protested, saying that they would not allow acquisition of land.
Over 25 farmers of the village are set to lose their land for the high-profile project. As the argument between officials and local residents ensued, police drove out the locals from the spot. As the situation started to get worse, women also joined the protest. They were also forcefully removed from the spot. “The villagers said that they don’t want to give away their land and wanted to know the compensation amount they will get. After police intervened, and removed them from the spot, the measurement activity was carried out without any obstacle,” Valsad Prant officer, K G Bhagora said.
The sarpanch of the village, Jitubhai Patel, accused the local administration of putting pressure on them by using police force. “The officials are using police to put pressure on us and even threatened to get us arrested. We don’t want to give our land. They have not informed how much land they want to acquire. We have told them that a petition has been filed in the High Court against the procedure of land acquisition. They did not answer and forcefully measured the land,” the Sarpanch said.
Daulat Patel, a farmer whose land will be acquired for the high-speed train project, said that they had submitted a memorandum opposing the land acquisition to Valsad District Collector, but have not got a reply or assurance. “If my house and the agricultural land are taken, what will I do? Where will I stay? And what would be my livelihood?” Patel asked.
Patel claimed the officials refused give them answers regarding compensation. “When I questioned them about compensation, the officials did not answer. We are helpless. What can we do? The officials also threatened us with police action,” said Patel.