The family of an 84-year-old farmer, who died after attempting suicide seeking adequate compensation for his land, has refused to take his body till their demands are accepted by the Maharashtra government.
Former state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded a judicial probe into the issue of the farmer’s compensation.
Dharma Patil, who hailed from Dhule district, had consumed a poisonous substance at the Maharashtra secretariat on January 22 to protest the low returns offered by the state government while acquiring his land for a solar power plant.
He died at the J J Hospital here last night.
His son Narendra Patil today said, “I will not accept my father’s body until the state government accepts our demands. I am not going to accept my father’s body because we have been fighting against the injustice done to us.”
The farmer’s family had claimed that he took the extreme step after several attempts to get appropriate compensation for his land did not yield any results.
His son had last week told reporters that his father got only Rs four lakh compensation for his five acres of land.
The octogenarian had been visiting the state administrative headquarters for the last three months to complain about the inadequate compensation for his land, his son had said.
The Maharashtra government had offered an assistance of Rs 15 lakh to the farmer, but his son refused to accept it.
“We were denied proper compensation by the state authorities for the land acquisition. Except us, everybody in our neighbourhood whose land had been acquired was given higher compensation. Why was there such a disparity?” Narendra Patil asked.
Chavan termed it as a serious matter and demanded a judicial probe into it.
“As per my information, some land agents are involved in such land acquisition deals and local revenue officials are also a part of the nexus. The farmers who agreed with such agents, received higher compensation,” he alleged last night.
“Dharma Patil’s family had refused to be a part of such a nexus, hence they were given very low compensation.This is a serious matter and I demand a judicial inquiry in this case,” he said.
Chavan also said the land was first acquired for a thermal power plant but its economics could not be worked out. The state then decided to construct a solar power plant in Dhule for which Patil’s land was acquired.
Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde, earlier said despite the farmer killing himself in Mantralaya, “the government did not feel like giving him justice.”
“Only this government is to be blamed for the farmer’s death,” the NCP leader had said.
Munde’s counterpart in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had also said that the farmer died due to “the government apathy and the anti-farmer policies”.
“The government is yet to wake up even after thousands of farmers have ended their lives,” the Congress leader said.