A day after the Greater Noida administration struck a deal with farmers of Patwari village in Noida Extension on the land acquisition issue, farmers from neighbouring villages dismissed the settlement and reiterated their demands for a better package. On Saturday, the farmers of Patwari had agreed to withdraw their petitions for a 65 per cent increase in compensation, two per cent more developed land in return of their acquired land and resolution of all abadi land-related issues. In a maha panchayat held in Roja-Yakubpur village today, farmers resolved to speak in one voice. Manveer Bhatti, a farmer leader from Bisrakh village, said, “The farmers dismissed the Patwari settlement. They also resolved not to negotiate at a village level. We fought for a common cause and our grievances are common. If there has to be any talks, we will talk as a unified group,” he said.
These farmers are seeking a fresh package, where the compensation is increased to Rs 6,500 per square metre, 12 per cent developed land, conversion of all abadi land (farmers settlements) into freehold land, annuity income for 33 years, and bigger 120-metre plots (instead of 40-metre plots) for the landless labourers in these villages. “We are not happy with the settlement. The authority and the state government are under pressure. This is the last chance we have to secure the future for our next generation. Once the land is gone, everything is gone,” Bhatti said. On Saturday, he had alleged that the farmers from Patwari were pressurised to accept the settlement.
While the farmers were united in their fight against land acquisition, they have a different perspective on the quantum of compensation or demands, depending on where they stand. For instance, for farmers in Patwari, the main issue was reclaiming their settlements, which were wrongly acquired. “In Patwari, the key issue was reclaiming our abadi land, our houses which were wrongly acquired by the authority. Besides, 10-storey buildings have come up on our land, there are sewer lines running underground. You can’t farm here even if we reclaim our land. Also, 85 per cent of farmers have taken the compensation and spent the money. They can’t refund,” said farmer leader Balraj Yadav.
Farmers from Bisrakh village, who were more aware and organised, did not allow these settlements to be acquired or have already reclaimed their abadi land. Some farmers feel the authority is playing mind games. “This is a ploy to put pressure on farmers. They will say this package is only for Patwari, and then other farmers will start seeking the same package,” said another farmer.
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