Chandigarh: After Haryana, it is now farmers in Punjab`s Mansa district who are protesting against "forcible" land acquisition for an upcoming thermal power
project in the state.
Despite state government’s claims that 95 percent land owners have accepted compensation, agitating farmers are protesting against the land acquisition, resulting in the arrest of over 400 protesting farming families in the last one
Punjab government is acquiring 880 acres of land for setting up a 540 MW thermal power project, which is to be developed by private company Indiabulls under its new power purchase policy.
However, out of 880 acres of land, farmers owning 171 acres of land have objected to acquisition process by the state government.
"Farmers who own 171 acres of land in Gobindpura village do not want to part with land at any cost. They want to keep the land with themselves for their earnings. That is why we have not even accepted the compensation cheque offered
by the state government," Kisan Sangharsh Samiti president, Satnam Singh said today.
The Samiti is supporting farmers in their agitation against the land acquisition.
However, Punjab government has termed the agitation by the farmers as politically motivated one.
"97 percent of farmers have happily accepted the compensation of Rs 30 lakh per acre. It is only 2-3 families which are resisting the land acquisition process," Punjab, Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Badal said earlier this week.
To cash in on the situation, the opposition Congress had also announced to review the power project when it comes to power.
"What was the interest of the government (SAD-BJP) to acquire land for a private company?" asked Congress president Amarinder Singh.
Upping the ante against the "forcible" land acquisition, farmers have now decided to stage protest against the administration on August 2 and reclaim possession
of the land.
"Farmers along with support of various farmers` organisations will be taking over the possession of the land which has been acquired by the state government forcibly on August 2. We will also be staging demonstration against the state government in front of DC office," said Singh.
Another agrarian state Haryana is also facing similar protests from farmers in Ambala and Fatehabad.
In Ambala, farmers are up in arms against land being acquired for developing Industrial Model Township by Haryana government on 1852 acres of land.
Similarly, farmers in Fatehabad are not ready to part with about 1,500 acres of land for setting up a state’s first nuclear power project. The farmers have been holding protest demonstration since the past one year.