At least 84 people have been arrested over the past two days for staging a protest outside an under-construction project of the Wave Group in a Greater Noida village over additional compensation.
The protesters, from whom land had been acquired in Kacheda village in 2010 for a housing project called Hightech City, have refused to hand over the land, demanding 64% of the amount already paid to them as additional compensation. The villagers, who have grown crops on the land earmarked for the housing project, allegedly fought with the labourers when they reached the village to start construction work on Friday. While 63 villagers were arrested on Friday, 21 more were sent to judicial custody on Saturday.
The villagers claimed they had asked for five more days to hand over the land to the builder, but were told to vacate immediately. As a mark of protest against the police and administration, the villagers have now put up a board saying no leader from the ruling BJP, whom they had voted to power, would be allowed in the area.
Narender Kumar, a Kacheda resident, said no BJP leader had come for their support. They sought a meeting with party MLA Mahesh Sharma, who had adopted the village under Adarsh Gram Yojana.
“The administration and police have been harassing the villagers for the past three days. Our crops were destroyed by the developers’ men who drove excavators on the fields. Nobody from the ruling party came to support us. We have taken our plea to many local and national leaders, including MLAs and MPs, but to no avail. All we want is an extension of five days to hand over the land,” said Mahender Pehelwan, a villager.
Told about the allegation, BJP district president Vijay Bhati said: “No sooner did we get the news, we sent a team to the village to speak to the people about their demands. Another team would be visiting the arrested villagers in jail on Monday and talk to them.”
A spokesperson for the Wave Group dubbed the farmers’ demand “illegal” and pointed out that it had been quashed by the high court in 2017 when the villagers had filed a suit against the building company for additional compensation. “The land was purchased directly, through one-on-one negotiations with the farmers. The compensation given to the villagers was more than the prevailing land rate at the time of purchase. Unfortunately, some anti-social elements are misleading the gullible farmers for their own vested interests,” the spokesperson said.
The villagers said they had been paid compensation at the rate of Rs 93 lakh per acre when land was acquired from them in 2010. The farmers are now demanding an additional 64% of the amount paid to them.
Vijay Kumar, the station house officer of Badalpur police station, said the villagers had been warned against continuing with their protest. “We had orders to hand over the land to the builders. They are now the legal owners,” he said.
“However, the people who were protesting refused to leave the area and stalled construction work by lying down in front of the excavators. They even fought with the labourers and police constables, because of which we had to use batons to disperse the crowd. On Friday, we arrested 63 people. The next day, 21 more were sent to judicial custody by the court,” Kumar said.
The officer said two separate FIRs had been filed. The first one has the names of 24 villagers and the second one is against 150 unidentified people. All of them have been charged with rioting and causing damage to public property, apart from other provisions of the IPC.
Source: ET Realty