08.05.2011 (Hindustan Times): The western Uttar Pradesh farmers’ agitation over compensation for half the land surrendered for the 165-km Yamuna Expressway spread to Agra and Tappal village in Aligarh district on Sunday. Farmers in Greater Noida on Sunday burnt wheat to press their demand that the state government return 50% of the land they had surrendered at no cost.
They also raised new demands, including payment of 80% of the cost at which the state government has sold land to developers to build malls and townships along the expressway.
The UP government on Sunday said the acquisition of land in Greater Noida was not undertaken for any private company or to construct the expressway. There was no dispute with the farmers there, the state government claimed.
In Agra, protesters clashed with the police and torched more than six vehicles. Farmers targeted the site of the JP Group, which has been given the contract to build the expressway.
In Tappal farmers burnt the shacks of workers of the JP Group, which is building the expressway. Additional district magistrate Shatrughan Singh said farmers had not snatched any land but just protested.
Dewan Singh, a member of the farmers’ agitation committee, said, “The farmers’ interests are being neglected and the government machinery is adamant on continuing with its arbitrary decisions without fulfilling the promises made on the Yamuna Expressway project.”
Agra district magistrate Ajay Chauhan said, “Though the situation is under control we have sounded a total alert.”
Last August, Uttar Pradesh cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had declared that the state would enhance the compensation from Rs 446 per square metre to Rs 580, besides providing a job to a member of each family losing all their land.
This is among the major demands raised this time. While the farmers in Agra and Tappal had demanded compensation at the Noida rate (Rs 880) last year, the state government offered Rs 580 per square metre.
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