The Shiromani Akali Dal on Friday demanded “at least a hundred percent hike in compensation to farmers for land being acquired under Bharat Mala Project for different highways in the state”.
Addressing reporters after leading an Akali delegation to submit a memorandum to the Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Badal said Punjab farmers had been robbed of over Rs 25000 Crore by the state government’s “devious and surreptitious decision” to substantially lower the collector rates for the farmers’ lands affected by the acquisition”.
This acquisition will have collateral effects on neighbouring 75000 acres of land which will be rendered useless after being divided into subparts, he added.
Badal also declared that the SAD would fight for justice to the farmers till it succeeded in getting the government to withdraw or suitable change its decision. He announced that the party would organize a Tractor March to the residence of the Congress Chief Minister Charanjeet Singh Channi on September 29 to put pressure on the government to heed the just demands of the farmers.
The Resolution submitted by the party decried “the shabby treatment meted out by the Congress govt. to the owners of 25000 acres of land acquired in 19 different districts of Punjab under Bharat Mala Project, one of the biggest highway construction projects.
The portions acquired are for Delhi-Jammu-Katra Express highway, Jam Nagar- Amritsar expressway, Amritsar- Una Highway , Ludhiana-Ropar highways, Barnala-Bathinda-Ganga Nagar highways, Mohali Sirhind highways, Malout, Jalandhar and Patiala bye pass and other related road projects.
The memo said that the nature of acquisition will create problems for the irrigation of large portions of the adjoining lands and will also affect the natural drainage of rain water which may cause flooding in the area later on.
“The Punjab government is doing great injustice with the farmers by acquiring this land on average collector rate which is below the market rates. Secondly, no uniform policy is being followed by land at different places”.
The memorandum further noted that the aggrieved farmers were protesting for their rights in a peaceful and democratic manner for months but had been met with complete apathy by the Congress government. It urged the Governor to ask the government to formulate a pro farmers uniform land acquisition policy on the lines of the one followed during the S. Parkash Singh Badal led government.
The memorandum demands that the state government be directed to pay market price instead of collector rate plus multiplier factor. In addition 100 per cent solatium must be given as per the demands raised by the affected farmers.” It also demanded that service lanes be created for the movement of farmers to their fields.