Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday assured a farmers’ delegation that he would soon meet Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to raise the demand for further revision in compensation against land acquired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’.
The farmers have rejected the meagre compensation awarded by the district revenue officers (DROs), who have been designated as competent authority for land acquisitions.
In response to a request by a Road Kissan Sangarsh Committee, a delegation of which met him here, the Chief Minister asked the Financial Commissioner, Revenue to issue detailed instructions not to credit the compensation amount into the accounts of farmers against their will.
He also directed the Director General of Police to ensure that the farmers’ land is not forcefully seized.
The issue relates to 25,000 hectares in 15 districts across the state. The land is under process of acquisition for the project covering multiple expressways, viz Delhi-Jammu-Katra, Jamnagar-Amritsar, Ludhiana-Ropar, Bathinda-Dabwali, besides bypass for Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
The Chief Minister directed his Principal Secretary to seek early appointment for a meeting with Gadkari. He stressed the need to resolve the issue on priority to the satisfaction of farmers, who are protesting for the past several months.
He also directed state officials to jointly prepare a comprehensive case, in consultation with the representatives of the committee, to highlight the glaring discrepancies while formulating the compensation award for the farmers under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.
The Chief Minister ruled out the possibility of referring such cases for arbitration as it would unnecessarily lead to inordinate delay in seeking justice for the farmers.