The Times Of India, May 6 2014, New Delhi: Haryana government’s plan to fast track the multi-modal logistics hub (MMLH) at Bawal in the NCR received a major jolt on Monday when a delegation of farmers walked out of a meeting called by the state industry department at Haryana Bhawan. The meeting was convened to discuss compensation for land acquisition for this multi-crore project.
Boycotting the meeting, umbrella body of farmers, Bhumi Adhigrahan Virodhi Sabha, threatened the government of a major protest in case the state tries to acquire the approximately 3,700 acres without their “consent”. Farmers who opposed state government’s move to start the process of disbursing compensation said that they would hold a mahapanchayat on May 14 to chalk out the action plan.
From government side, industry minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, health minister Rao Narender Singh and industry secretary Y S Malik were present. Surjewala did not respond to calls and text messages.
According to Ram Kishan Mehlawat of the anti-land acquisition organization, the state government had first issued notification to acquire the land of 16 villages in Bawal under Rewari district in July 2011. A year later subsequent notification was issued. It’s during this period, farmers had protested against the land acquisition and the situation had gone out of hand. Police resorted to cane charge and there was major violence.
“Then we had a meeting with the chief minister where he had agreed to address two of our demands. First, no land will be acquired without farmers’ consent and second, all cases filed against farmers during protest must be withdrawn. But nothing happened,” Mehlawat said.
According to farmers, the state government recently issued notification to start the disbursement of compensation without addressing the two pending issues. Mehlawat said what angered them more was that the Haryana government was going ahead with the plan to acquire their “fertile” land, though it has announced to spare such lands for industrial development.
A group of about two dozen farmers who had come to Delhi to participate in the meeting said that Rewari deputy commissioner had told them that there would be no discussion on compensation issue. “In contrary to their claims, the meeting started with the compensation issue whereas we wanted the government to act on our two major demands. So, we recorded that the government was trying to mislead farmers and walked out of the meeting,” one of the participants said.
The logistic hub is one of the four early bird projects, to be developed under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). Once completed, the project would cater to the shipment needs of nearly 2,000 industries.