K`taka farmers for more payout from ArcelorMittal

Amid protests by farmers in Bellary for increased compensation, the Karnataka government today offered jobs in the Rs 30,000 crore ArcelorMittal steel project, in addition to Rs 8-16 lakh per acre compensation.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2010, 23:42 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid protests by farmers in
Bellary for increased compensation, the Karnataka government
today offered jobs in the Rs 30,000 crore ArcelorMittal steel
project, in addition to Rs 8-16 lakh per acre compensation.

However, agitating farmers are demanding a compensation
of Rs 50-60 lakh per acre, besides the offer of one job per
family in the project, senior state officials said over
phone. They said ArcelorMittal has agreed to provide jobs
along with payout for the land.

At the rate of Rs 8-16 lakh per acre, the farmers were to
get a compensation of Rs 350 crore for about 4,000 acres of
land, which according to the officials, has been acquired.

"About 500 farmers staged protests against the prices
fixed by us for land acquired for ArcelorMittal`s project.
They are demanding Rs 50-60 lakh an acre against Rs 8 lakh-Rs
16 lakh an acre fixed by us," Bellary Deputy Commissioner B
Shivappa said.

This evening, State Principal Secretary, Industries, V P
Baligar held a meeting with a farmers` delegation in Bangalore
to iron out the issue.

"We have offered jobs to one person from each family
whose land has been acquired for the ArcelorMittal project.
But the farmers are adamant about an increase in the
compensation. We are negotiating with them," he said.

He said the government has "released" the first
instalment of Rs 50 crore and expects to disburse more
compensation in the next two months.

There have been recent incidents of farmers` agitations
against land acquisition and demands for higher payouts in
Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa as well.

ArcelorMittal had entered into a pact with the Karnataka
government in June this year to set up a Rs 30,000 crore plant
with a capacity of 6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in the
state.

ArcelorMittal has already deposited Rs 267 crore with
the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) and
would soon pay the remaining amount, Baligar said.

The company spokesperson said, "We have reached an
understanding on the price for land and expect to get its
possession soon."

The company has been struggling to launch its proposed Rs
1 lakh crore steel projects in Orissa and Jharkhand (12 mtpa
each) for about five years now.

The projects have been stuck due to regulatory hurdles
and problems in land acquisition and ArcelorMittal has been
scouting for investment in other destinations.

PTI