New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh police arrested 47 farmers on Monday as they held a protest demanding higher compensation for their lands which is to be acquired for the Jewar airport near Greater Noida, PTI reported.
Land acquisition for the green field airport project is underway and the farmers were protesting in demand for higher compensation than what the government is offering. The police took into custody 47 of them under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code (knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse) as they were gathering at a toll plaza.
“Some farmers were moving towards the Jewar toll plaza Monday morning to stage a protest. Before they could reach, 45 farmers were taken into custody after being challaned under IPC Section 151. They will be produced in the lower court, after which they will either be released on bail or kept in jail. The protest was essentially motivated by reasons other than compensation,” superintendent of police (rural) of Gautam Budh Nagar Ranvijay Singh, told The Indian Express.
Farmers whose lands have to be acquired for the airport project have been demanding higher compensation since last year – when the amount of compensation was decided by the Uttar Pradesh government. They have demanded that they be compensated at four times the circle rate instead of twice the circle rate as the government has determined.
“We have been protesting against the airport for the past one year. Our demand that we be granted four times the compensation has not been met. Our land was declared urban, which robbed us of our benefits as rural farmers. We have also not been given the 20% compensation in terms of land as due. Our protest will continue even as most of our brothers continue to be arrested,” Rakesh Thakur, a farmer, told the English daily.
Currently, the government is in the process of taking possession of the lands that they require for the airport. According to government data, 707 hectares of agricultural land and 532 hectares of urban land has to be acquired for the first phase of the project. It is hopeful that the process of acquisition will be completed by September end.
However, the farmers continue to protest demanding that they be paid higher compensation. Last year, they had approached the Allahabad high court, but their plea was dismissed in April.