BJP MLA’s protest for better land rate halts work on Eastern Freight Corridor

Khurja (KRJ): Protests by a BJP MLA has put on halt the ongoing work on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, a project under Ministry of Railways and on top priority of the central government.

A group of farmers led by Sikandrabad MLA Vimla Solanki stopped the work in Khurja area of Bulandshahr district alleging that the Railways acquired land for the project at a very low price. She threatened that the work will not will be allowed to resume at the site till better compensation was paid for the land.

The district administration, however, claimed that Solanki is creating hindrance as she wants higher compensation for a piece of land in Khanpur village, which belongs to her relatives. “I tried explaining to her several times that maximum compensation has been paid. We cannot give higher compensation just because her relative’s land is being acquired,” Vishal Singh, Additional District Magistrate (Executive) told.

On the other hand, Solanki claimed her fight is for the farmers’ cause. “Is it wrong to protest if an MLA’s or her relative’s land is being acquired at low price? Are all the farmers in the affected 12 villages my relatives? Can’t an MLA be a farmer and protest to raise her demands? I am not against the project but for higher compensation to the farmers,” she claimed.

On Thursday, Solanki reached Khanpur village near Gangraul Halt where the work for the project is going on and sat on dharna along with farmers. They forced the earth moving machines at the construction site to leave.

The MLA claimed that farmers in Khurja were paid only Rs 732 per square metre as compensation for their land. “It is ridiculous. Farmers’ land is being looted. The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which had acquired land in same area, has paid Rs 1,400 to Rs 4,000 per sqm. I will not allow this to happen. Work will not be allowed. Farmers should get compensation at four times the circle rate as announced by the state government,” Solanki said.

She also said that at present the farmers are getting compensation at the rate of Rs 3.50 lakh per bigha, while the private rate is over Rs 7 lakh per bigha. The farmers were still sitting on dharna at construction site on Friday and the movement has spread to nearly 13 villages including Khanpur, Nagla Banshi, Sikanderpur, Kamalpur, Bair, and Bhadaula.

“Nearly 10 days back, I had met Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and apprised him about the situation. The minister informed me that land acquisition was done by state government and his ministry is paying the compensation as quoted by the former. He even committed that if higher compensation was demanded by state government, it will be paid,” she claimed.