Barely a month after the government backed off following stiff opposition to the South Korean Posco steel plant in Gadag district, land acquisition is haunting farmers of Mundargi taluk.
Though no industry has expressed intention to set up shop here, the government wants to keep land ready in view of the Global Agri-Business Investment and Food Processing Meet 2011.
While Halligudi, epicentre of farmers’ agitation over Posco, has been spared, Petalur figures in the fresh proposal. Jantli-Shirur and Mevundi villages are also set to lose lands to industries. Over 3,807 acres are up for acquisition.
GK Vasanth Kumar, additional secretary, agriculture department, said the government has identified land for agro-based firms and food processing units and asked district officials to collate farmers’ opinion.
But farmers who opposed Posco are determined. CR Budihal, a farmer from Mevundi, said there is no question of farmers giving up land for agro-based or any other industry.
He said farmers are ready to set up agro industries on a cooperative basis and asked the government to provide technology. He doubted the government’s intention: “Only the name has been changed but the aim is to snatch farmers’ land. What’s the guarantee that agro-based industries will come up here? Farmers won’t have a say once land is acquired.”
Farmers will get compensation of Rs 10 lakh per acre. Around 100 farmers, whose land has been identified for the project, met in Jantli-Shirur village on Wednesday and sent a memorandum opposing land acquisition to the CM. Farmer Mahadevappa Bellad said they wouldn’t part with land at any cost. He said, “Farmers are shocked to know the government is hell-bent on acquiring land despite its promise not to do it.”
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