The farmers in Noida, whose land was acquired between 1976 and 1997, are refusing to relent. Despite agreeing to a settlement with the Noida Authority on July 30 — whereby all farmers’ agitations were to be put on hold for three months in return for several rehabilitation benefits charted out by the two parties — farmers with landholdings prior to 1997 have now gone back on their word. They are constantly amplifying their demands, threatening to go to court. On Thursday, farmers from 17 villages in Noida — where land was acquired before 1997 — got together to form a new umbrella body called the ‘Kisan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti’ to “officially put across their demands before the Noida Authority CEO”.
The new Samiti led by farmer leaders like Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee executive member Joginder Awana, farmers Kripa Raj Sharma and Raghuraj Sharma, is insisting on 5% developed plots besides other benefits promised by the Authority. These farmers complain that their land was acquired at Rs 3 per sqm in 1976 after imposing the urgency clause and later sold at Rs 1 lakh per sqm. They were kept out of the benefit pool as their land was acquired between 1976 and 1997.
“Those farmers received compensation at the rate of over Rs 700 per sqm and are entitled to receive 5% of the developed plots, yet they were agitating. Think about us: we were paid a mere Rs 3 per sqm. Most of us are yet to receive the 17.5% reserved plots even after 36 years since the acquisition process began,” said Joginder Awana.
The Authority, though, on its part, has been striving to convince farmers of its intention to “amicably sort out their grievances”. Continuing with his daily visits to the Noida villages, Noida Authority CCEO Balwindar Kumar met the farmers of Nithari village on Thursday. Nithari is one of the 17 villages where land was acquired before 1997 with the assurance to farmers that special schemes will be initiated to allot developed plots and flats apart from other promises. The Authority, however, has expressed its inability to meet their additional demand of 5% plots.
The farmers, though, have refused to budge an inch. They have now called for a panchayat in Aghapur village on Saturday, after which they will have an “official meeting” with the Authority.
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