Buried In Mud, Rajasthan Farmers Protest Over Land Compensation

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More than 50 farmers in Rajasthan have been taking it in turns to sit in pits as part of protest.

The land in Nindar village, around 20 km from Jaipur, is part of the 333 hectares the Rajasthan government had earmarked in 2010 for a housing project. The farmers are protesting against the rate of compensation the government is offering.

JAIPUR — For three days, more than 50 farmers have been on a relay protest near Rajasthan’s Jaipur, sitting buried upto their waist in mud. They say the state government has forcibly acquired their land, offering them inadequate compensation.

The land in Nindar village, around 20 km from Jaipur, is part of the 333 hectares the state government had earmarked in 2010 for a housing project. The Jaipur Development Authority, which will be in charge of the project, has acquired 14 bighas so far.

The government has deposited Rs. 60 crore in the court, but the farmers have not accepted any money so far. They say the compensation the government is offering is according to rates fixed seven years ago. The market rate of land has spiralled since, they point out.

The farmers also demand a fresh survey of the land the government earmarked for acquisition. They say much of the land, which had initially been farmland, is now occupied by housing societies and the acquisition will also make many people homeless.

The locals had been holding rallies and demonstrations since last month, but they received no response from the government. Last week, they decided to step up the protests with a “zameen samadhi satyagrah” (burial satyagraha), which was started on October 2 — the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Under it, around 54 people take it in turns to sit in the pits, four of which are for women.

One of the protesters, 90-year-old Nanthi Bai, said her family has lived here for seven generations.
“I have brought up my eight sons here in this land and I have 20 grandchildren… if you take me away from my land where will I go? I don’t want the money I want my land,” she said, breaking down.

c.ndtv.com

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