New Delhi: Thousands of disgruntled farmers led by Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Thursday held a massive rally in the national capital to protest against the acquisition of their land for the Yamuna Expressway.
The farmers are pressing for higher compensation for their lands acquired for the Yamuna Expressway and want the Centre to amend the Land Acquisition Act.
According to reports, RLD chief Ajit Singh led a protest march of farmers starting from Ram Lila Maidan, which then proceed towards Parliament.
At least 10,000-12,000 farmers from Uttar Pradesh have poured in the national capital via Gaziabad, Noida, Loni and Faridabad borders. Apart from the land acquisition. The farmers also raised their voice against the recent police firing, in which three farmers were killed.
Today’s rally created traffic congestion as the farmers` procession affected traffic at Rajghat, JLN Marg, Barakhamba Road, KG Marg, Janpath, Ranjit Singh Marg and Tolstoy Marg.
The movement to New Delhi Railway Station through Ajmere Gate was also affected due to congestion expected at Ajmere Gate, Darya Ganj, Chandni Chowk and surrounding areas.
Leading farmers’ body Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) led by Mahindra Singh Tikait did not participate in the RLD’s call to gherao Parliament today .
However, BKU has demanded replacement of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, to protect farmers` interest by bringing an ordinance to this effect.
Major political parties like Samajwadi Party and BJP have extended their full support to the farmers’ agitation in the national capital.
All major Opposition parties are supporting farmers` agitation but are disunited over the issue. The BJP and Congress held separate demonstrations on Wednesday in support of the statewide strike call given by the KSS.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) is also expected to hold a similar demonstration in support of farmers all over in Uttar Pradesh today.
The Yamuna Expressway, which is expected to reduce the driving time between New Delhi and Agra to about 90 minutes, will pass through Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida), Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hathras) and Mathura districts, and involves acquisition of land in 115 villages.
A total of 2,500 hectares is to be acquired for the development of the expressway - 500 hectares each in Noida, Aligarh and Agra and 1,000 hectares in Gautam Buddha Nagar.
The compensation amount was increased from Rs 449 per square metre to Rs 570 per square metre. But farmers refused to budge from the demand for compensation at the rate of Rs 880 per square metre that was paid in Greater Noida.
Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday asked politicians "interested in the welfare of farmers" to seek amendments of the land acquisition act rather then visiting trouble spots.