Protests in UP against land acquisition for freight corridor

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Lucknow, July 18 (IANS) The government has been riding roughshod over the farmers while acquiring land in Chandauli and Mirzapur districts of Uttar Pradesh for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor rail project, an extreme Left outfit has alleged.

Ramji Rai, state secretary of the CPI (ML) Liberation, said his party has been supporting a local farmers’ agitation against land acquisition, which is being carried out against all norms and rules.

“Farmers of the Cheeto village in Chandauli have been staging a sit-in from February 25 against land acquisition and our party workers, led by Shashikant Kushwaha, are also on a hunger strike from July 11 at the District Magistrate’s office,” said Rai.

He said the agitation would be scaled up if land acquisition was not stopped right away.

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“Rather than listening to the protestors’ pleas, the officials have been trying to muzzle the voice of the farmers,” said Rai, who is a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation politburo.

He said an Additional District Magistrate had assured the farmers, who are set to lose their land, that they would get a job with the Railways, compensation at market price, and proper rehabilitation.

“Since these things have not been implemented, we have been forced to take the path of agitation”, Rai said.

The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor is being implemented by the Indian Railways.

The project envisages construction of a 1,839-km broad gauge rail line from Ludhiana in Punjab to Khurja in Uttar Pradesh for transporting industrial goods — with subsequent development of more industries along the route on both sides.

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Uttar Pradesh accounts for 1,049 km, passing through 18 districts, of the 1,839 km of the project which has been funded by the World Bank.

The state government has projected Rs 42,000 crore of investment coming through the project which, it says, will herald an “industrial revolution” in Uttar Pradesh.



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