Highway widening: Residents allege bias in land relief, protest

Bathinda-Dabwali Road Sangharsh Committee and farmers from BKU (Dakonda) burn effigy of Manpreet Badal

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 19

Members of the Bathinda-Dabwali Road Sangharsh Committee and farmers from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakonda) today staged a demonstration and burnt an effigy of Finance Minister Manpreet Badal at Gehri Buttar village here over inadequate compensation in lieu of land.

Paid as per rules

The administration has provided relief as per rules. If residents of some villages feel they have not received adequate compensation, they can approach the arbitrator concerned to air their concerns. - B Srinivasan, Bathinda DC

Protesters from 10 villages claimed their land had been acquired for the six-laning of National Highway 54A from Jodhpur Romana village to Dabwali by paying a meagre amount.

Bhinder Singh, president of the sangharsh committee, said, “The compensation paid to residents is nothing in comparison to the market value. We have been protesting for the past two months, but to no avail. Today, to express our resentment, we burnt an effigy of the Finance Minister, who had promised us adequate compensation.”

“The administration has paid Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh for the land that has a market value between Rs 80 lakh and Rs 1 crore per acre,” he rued.

The protesters alleged few people with a political clout managed to get adequate compensation while majority of residents were coerced to sell their land on low rates. “A pick-and-choose approach has been used while acquiring land and putting it in different categories, so that few influential persons get adequate compensation. Most of the beneficiaries are being overlooked,” said a leader of the sangharsh committee.

Chak Ruldu Singwala, Pathrala, Gehri Buttar, Jodhpur Romana, Sangat Kalan and Jassi are among 10 villages where land was acquired for the project.

The protesters warned that if they were not paid adequate compensation, they would intensify their stir. They said if the administration could not ensure adequate relief, it must at least provide them government land lying vacant near AIIMS-Bathinda.

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