On Charan Singh birth anniversary, farmers’ stir against land acquisition enters 82nd day

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Agra, Dec 23 (IANS) As Uttar Pradesh on Sunday celebrated 116th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Charan Singh — popularly known as a ‘champion of farmers’ cause,’ — hundreds of displaced farmers continued their sit-in for the 82nd day at Chalesar, close to the Yamuna Expressway intersection, about 100 km from Agra.

The agitating farmers are opposing land acquisition by the state government for the Jaypee group for the Expressway. Farmers said five land parcels, 500 acres each, for townships by the Japee group, had been planned for which agricultural land was acquired.

“The farmers were forcibly evicted and land records changed,” said Manoj Sharma, a leading protester.

The protesters are joined by their family members and children too. “Leaders of all parties have come, sympathised and promised early action, but we see no light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sharma.

Farmers in Etmadpur tehsil have been fighting against forcible eviction and acquisition of their land for over two years. Their main complaint is that excess land has been acquired for the Expressway “to please the land developers”.

“The stretch along the Yamuna river has fertile agricultural land ploughed by farmers for hundreds of years. Suddenly they have been left to fend for themselves,” said Manoj Sharma, chief coordinator of the dharna.

–IANS

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