Farmers continue protest over land acquisition in Mughalsarai

Chandauli(UP): Tension has gripped the Mughalsarai area here, as hundreds of farmers are protesting against land acquisition by Varanasi Development Authority (VDA). Farmers of Katesar village, armed with sticks, axes and various farming instruments, are staging dharna since May 24 against the land acquisition.

The sit-in started on May 24 and will continue till the demand of the farmers is met by the Government, a farmer said.

“We will fight a bloody battle if this land acquisition is not cancelled. We will commit suicide by setting ourselves ablaze on June 1 if our demands are not met,” Ram Lakhan Yadav, president of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti(KSS) said. More than 1,500 farmers are being affected by the acquisition, he alleged, adding that on May 22 the district officials had assured them that their demand would be considered and there would be no further land acquisition in the village. But, this was not fulfilled, he said. A heavy police force has been deployed in the area in order to prevent any untoward incident. 300 hectare of land was needed for the cultural hub project of year 2008, in which 121 hectare is to be acquired in Katesar and rest in Kodopur village, VDA sources said.

A total requirement of fund in the project would be around 115 crore for the first phase, and housing and urban development corporation ( HUDCO )) had assured a loan in this regard, they said.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday blamed Congress for the recent farmers’ protests demanding higher compensation for their lands. “Congress was only responsible for the demonstrations by the peasantry,” she said at the North Zone convention of the party in Chandigarh.

She advocated a uniform land acquisition policy for the entire country. “We will raise the issue in Parliament for brining uniform land acquisition policy,” she said.

She accused its political opponents of hatching conspiracies to weaken the party and asserted that it would not bow down to any such tactics. “After BSP came to power in Uttar Pradesh, the opposition parties with caste-based mindset tried to inflate minor incidents to make the party instable,” the BSP chief said.

She alleged that the Opposition was causing hindrances Pin the pro-poor policies adopted by her government, by taking issues to courts.

“I will not bow down to the conspiracies of political opponents to run down BSP,” she said.
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