Having rested for night at Rampur Bangar village in Greater Noida, the Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi resumed his padyatra early morning today the July 6. Walking briskly, he proceeded to Sabota village along upcoming Agra Express Highway in Greater Noida.
On reaching there he interacted with the villagers and listened to their problems attentively. One villager stated that the farmers had been requesting the Mayawati government to make newly declared land acquisition policy applicable to Greater Noida. However, the same was not agreed to. He said the compensation under the old land acquisition policy would be ruinous to the villagers. Rahul Gandhi inquired, “Were you not told that your lands were being acquired? The villagers replied, “Sir, I was only told that the land was being acquired for Express Highway and nothing else was told to me.” The young Congress leader again asked, “What is the plan of construction of the Express Highway? The reply was, “Sir, it is being told to the villagers that schools, hospitals etc will come up on the acquired land but no body knows for sure.”
A worried village lady also interacted with the young Congress leader. She said the villagers were feeling helpless and pushed to the wall as they had no means other than their agricultural lands from which eked out livelihood. She added, “I have four daughters of marriageable age. How I will get them married off without having money.”
Having heard the villagers, Rahul Gandhi spoke. He said, “We have a policy in Haryana. There is no problem regarding acquisition of land. There the state does not fire upon the farmers. It is because in Haryana there is our government and it has a clear policy. There whenever land is acquired our government thinks of welfare of people, their future. It is ensured there that the farmers get benefit of acquisition.”
With dismay he said, “There are thousands of farmers who have not been paid fair compensation. Mayawati’s government claims that it has brought in new land acquisition policy. But, sadly, the new land acquisition policy is not being made applicable here in villages of Greater Noida although its benefit is being given in other places of the UP. Why it is being done this way?”
From Sabota he waked to reach Alawalpur village where he held a panchayat. He said, “Your lands are being taken over but you are not being told. There is proper legal procedure for acquisition of land. But the legal provisions in this respect are being misused. You are bringing objections before the government individually. Somebody’s land is taken over for something. The others lands are being taken over for something else. Thus no one knows what is being done with his land.”
He added, “Farmers are ready to give up their lands. Nobody has shown his unwillingness. But the farmers insist that they must get market price. The farmers demand is correct because if a man in urban Delhi sells his house he gets its full value that is its market value. But here the lands of the poor people are being taken by force and deceit.”
Explaining the point the Congress General Secretary said, “While the market rate here is thousands of rupees, you get only Rs 800. State government is keeping silence on this serious issue. The extent to which the lands of the people are being acquired, no where else it is being done in any other state.”
Referring to problem of land acquisition all over India he said, “UPA government are going to bring land acquisition bill. It will take care that the bill is comprehensive and takes care of the farmers’ interests.”
He said if someone sole from a bank, he was arrested and put in jail. But here the UP government was stealthily grabbing the lands of the people. When people protested the state government ordered firing upon the innocent people.
The Congress General Secretary advised the villagers, “You must unite. Your protest must be strong enough to be heard by the state government. You are being given raw deal by the UP government.”