The Times of India, Nov 6 2015, Meerut: A large number of farmers on Friday protested at the Meerut Development Office (MDA) office demanding ex-gratia compensation for land that was acquired in 1987. They claimed that their demand was accepted at an earlier MDA board meeting and the district administration had promised to give them compensation as a “Diwali present”.
“In the 106th board meeting of the MDA, the authorities concerned had agreed to our demands. Only the formalities were left to be done. We were told that our demands would be fully met before Diwali. In fact, we were told that farmers would receive this as a Diwali present. However, these demands have not been met yet. Farmers who had given up their land for the development of Ganga Nagar, Vedvyaspuri and Lohia Nagar are frustrated and we want that these demand be met at the earliest,” said Tejpal Singh, president of Ganga Nagar Sangharsh Samiti.
Explaining the issue, Harvinder Singh, secretary of the samiti, said, “In 1987, land was acquired from farmers for separate projects in Ganga Nagar, Lohia Nagar and Ved Vyasa Puri. About 800 acres of land was acquired from 1,500 farmers in Ved Vyasa Puri. In Lohia Nagar, 600 acres were acquired from 1,200 farmers. In Ganga Nagar, 450 acres were acquired from 500 farmers. At that time, compensation was paid to farmers at Rs 30 per square feet,” said Harvinder Singh, secretary of Ganga Nagar Sangharsh Samiti.
Singh said, “Under section 18 of the 1844 Land Acquisition Act, farmers can seek ex-gratia or revised compensation. In 1990, we went to court and demanded that we be given more compensation. In 2008, we were given money at the rate of Rs 210 per square feet and farmers in Shatabdi Nagar got Rs 185 per square feet for their recently acquired land. In 2011, the MDA arbitrarily increased compensation for Shatabdi Nagar farmers to Rs 690. Our demand is that we be given compensation on par with the other farmers.”