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Don’t cheat farmers by offering them peanuts for land acquisition for Delhi-Katra expressway

Terms the award of Rs 9.67 lakh per acre for the expressway project as ridiculous. Demands it be taken back and fair price be given to farmers)

Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked the Congress government not to cheat farmers by initiating land acquisition for the Delhi-Katra expressway project by announcing a ridiculous award of Rs 9.67 lakh per acre.

Expressing shock at this development, the SAD President said “we will not allow farmers land to be taken away from them for peanuts. The Punjab government must ensure fair awards for acquisition of land for the project. The award of Rs 9.67 lakh per acre for acquisition of land at Santokhpura village in Sangrur is ridiculous and should be taken back. New awards should be announced in keeping with ground realities saying there was unrest among farmers in Sangrur, Mogar, Barnala and Sultanpur Lodhi on account of this.

Mr Sukhbir Badal said the Congress government was directly responsible for the current state of affairs. He said district authorities were passing awards based on the three year average of collector rates. “Since the collector rates have been brought down manifold during the Congress regime, farmers are now suffering on account of this. The government must work around this problem to ensure farmers land is not taken from them at a pittance”.

Mr Badal also pointed out that farmers stood to lose because the Delhi-Katra project was proposed as a semi-elevated road with fencing on the side creating an insurmountable obstacle. He said this would not only result in severance of land holdings but also create issues as far as approach to the severed land as well as water connectivity was concerned. “Farmers should be adequately compensated for the same”.

Mr Badal said it was in the State interest to offer adequate and just compensation for the prestigious expressway project to ensure it took off. “The government should listen to farmers objecting to the expressway project and hold talks with them to ensure it does not miss any deadline as far as land acquisition was concerned”. He said the Congress government should also take note of land acquisitions done for the National Highway – 64 (Zirakpur – Bathinda) and National Highway -71 (Hoshiarpur – Khanauri) projects for which acquisition was done in 2013 under the chief ministership of S Parkash Singh Badal. “Farmers received compensation between Rs 1.20 crore per acre to Rs 6.25 crore per acre. Now also farmers deserve a fair price even if the collector rate has been brought down arbitrarily by the Congress government to help the corporate sector”, Mr Badal added.

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