Land acquisition row: MP CM promises 'amicable' solution



Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday assured the Legislative Assembly that his government will take farmers into confidence before acquiring their land for setting up industrial projects.

He also sought to caution the Opposition against any move to create "anti-investor" atmosphere in the state.

Chouhan was replying to an adjournment motion moved by Dr Govind Singh and other Congress members.

The motion was in protest of alleged forcible land acquisition of farmers at Bujbuja and Dokaria villages in Katni district for a private thermal power plant, resulting in a woman Sunia Bai allegedly committing suicide.

"In case farmers' land needs to be acquired for any project, then it will be done in an amicable manner," Chouhan told the House.

Farmers at the two villages were protesting against the acquisition of their fertile land for the upcoming 1,980 MW Welspun Thermal Power Plant in Barhi tehsil of Katni district by setting up funeral pyres in their fields.

Appealing to Opposition to not politicise the matter, the chief minister said that industrial development is equally important for the state.

Chouhan highlighted features of rehabilitation and resettlement policy of his government specially with regard to this particular project, saying that farmers whose land was being taken over were given a compensation package of Rs five lakh.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh alleged that the state government was "insensitive" towards the plight of farmers losing their land.

"Police beat up farmers, especially women, opposing land acquisition in a brutal manner, which shows the government's insensitivity towards them," he charged. Ajay alleged that Chouhan has gone back on his earlier assurances of not acquiring farmers' land for industrial purpose.

The opposition leader said his party was not opposing industrialisation, but it should not be done at the cost of farmers' land.

Congress MLA Sanjay Pathak, in whose constituency the power project is coming up, suggested that instead of acquiring agriculturists' land it would be better if the government acquires barren government land situated adjacent to the village.

However, Energy Minister Rajendra Shukla and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra said that it was not possible as the alternate land being suggested by Pathak comes under the buffer zone of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Earlier, Industries Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya said the project was given necessary permissions from various union ministries including Forest and Environment and Civil Aviation.

N P Prajapati, Choudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi, Kalpana Parulekar and Arif Aqeel (all Congress) among others also took part in the debate opposing forcible land acquisition.

Later, Speaker Ishwardas Rohani adjourned the House till tomorrow.

PTI