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Maya has her way,Tappal township is back on track

The UP government announced the revival of the township project on the Yamuna Expressway,along with the interchange to link the expressway with Aligarh.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow |
November 10, 2010 3:57:02 am

A little over two months after scrapping a township project on the Yamuna Expressway at Tappal in Aligarh district in the face of a farmers’ agitation,the UP government announced the revival of the project,along with the interchange to link the expressway with Aligarh.

The announcement came after farmers met Chief Minister Mayawati on Tuesday,and said they were never against the

project.

As a reciprocal gesture,the government decided to extend to the farmers benefits of the revised resettlement and rehabilitation policy,which provides for payment of an annuity or a rehabilitation subsidy,land for building houses,and some other facilities to landowners.

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The amended policy,which was announced on September 3 —the day the township was scrapped — was originally intended to be implemented prospectively.

The 182-km expressway,which will connect Noida with Agra,is being developed by the Jaypee Group on a public-private partnership model. The township was offered to Jaypee as a deal-sweetner.

Making the announcement,Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said a delegation of farmers from Tappal had come to the state capital to demand the revival of the township project. The 60-member delegation had detailed discussions with Additional Cabinet Secretary Netram on Monday and Tuesday.

“On the request,and in the interest of Tappal farmers,Chief Minister Mayawati decided to revive the township project. The Chief Minister also approved the farmers’ demand that they should be covered under the new resettlement and rehabilitation policy,” Singh said.

Singh said the farmers had been demanding restoration of the project since the day it was scrapped. “Nearly 600 farmers have submitted affidavits in support of their demand,” he said.

The project was scrapped following a violent agitation by farmers for compensation at par with that paid to landowners in Greater Noida. Four persons,including a platoon commander of the PAC,were killed in clashes between farmers and policemen.

The government offered a substantial increase in the rate of compensation,but said it can’t be made equal to the rate applicable in Greater Noida. The farmers retaliated by saying that they did not want to give land for the proposed township which was meant to benefit a private company.

However,soon after the government cancelled the project,the farmers realised that this would send land prices crashing. Also,many of them had accepted the compensation and invested in new businesses; they did not know how to pay back if the government returned the land.

Within days,the farmers started mobilising in favour of the project. They met District Magistrate K Ravindra Nayar to say they were not against the project,but wanted a better deal. A cautious district administration asked them to submit affidavits to this effect.

Official sources said owners of 450 hectares of the 500 hectares of land needed for the project have already given affidavits. The sources said they were hopeful that most others would fall in line in the next few days.

The cabinet secretary said the CM had also directed that the Yamuna embankment project in Tappal should be completed so that the area is protected from floods. The CM also approved a bus station at Tappal.

Singh said there was no change in the rate of compensation,and the farmers would be paid Rs 570 per sq metre. “The rate of compensation is no issue; the farmers are happy that the township project has been revived and they are covered by the rehabilitation policy,” he said.

Under the policy,the farmers will be entitled to receive Rs 20,000 per acre as annuity for 33 years,with an annual increment of Rs 600. If they opt for a one-time payment,they will get Rs 2.4 lakh per acre as rehabilitation subsidy. They can also can opt for shares of the developer company worth 25 per cent of the value of the land.

Sunder Singh Balyan,who led the farmers delegation,said,“All issues of the farmers have now been settled and we have got much more than what we had expected. The farmers of Tappal were not interested in politics.”

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