Maya offers compensation hike, fails to end farmers` stir

The Mayawati government decided to enhance compensation for agitating farmers.

Updated: Aug 18, 2010, 00:18 AM IST

Aligarh/Lucknow: Pushed on the backfoot,
Mayawati government today offered protesting farmers a hike in
compensation for the land acquired for a township along Taj
Expressway but sharp divisions emerged on the proposal among
the agitators who decided to continue their stir.

Leader of the agitating farmers Rambabu Kathelia, who
was released on bail this afternoon after UP government
offered the farmers the new deal, announced in violence-hit
Jikarpur village that he had formed a 25-member committee to
work out a compromise, after a mahapanchayat failed to arrive
at a consensus on whether to accept the offer.

In a fresh proposal to the farmers who had been
demanding compensation at the rate paid to Noida and Greater
Noida farmers, the UP government said it had decided to hike
the amount to Rs 570 per square metre from existing Rs 449
per square metre, which was nearly 25 per cent more.

The additional compensation of Rs 121 per square metre
will be given to the farmers of affected villages in Aligarh
in the form of a special financial assistance, an official
spokesman said in Lucknow and announced the decision to
release Kathelia and other agitating leaders.
He also said that if any farmer does not agree to this
financial assistance, then his land would not be acquired and
would be given back to him.

However, Kathelia`s move to reach a decision on the
offer did not yield any result as the committee members failed
to reconcile their differences on the issue, sources privy to
the developments said here.

Meanwhile, fresh violence erupted in Agra where
agitating farmers today attacked a police picket near Chougaon
village of Etmadpur tehsil, injuring several policemen and SDM
of Etmadpur Dhirendra Sachan. Police said they fired rubber
bullets to disperse the mob.

Two constables were last night beaten by farmers who
fled with their rifles and motorbikes, police said. The
constables posted there in view of the ongoing agitation by
farmers were attacked with sticks by nearly 20 people near
Chaugaon village of Etmadpur tehsil in the district.
The circle officer of Etmadpur said that the rifles
were recovered late last night.

Reinforcements from Agra have reached the village,
about 20 kms from the city. DIG Deepesh Juneja and District
Magistrate Amrit Abhijat have also rushed to the site.

A day after prominent leaders of opposition BJP, SP
and RLD addressed the mahapnchayat extending their support to
the farmers, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sent his emissary to
meet the agitationists.

AICC secretary Vivek Bansal told the mahapanchayat
which was convened in Jikarpur village that Rahul Gandhi was
ready to visit them.