Farmers up in arms against NICE

Farmers up in arms against NICE

Begin 3-day rally demanding return of 1,330 acres of land acquired for BMIC project

Not so nice: Farmers march in Bangalore on Friday, protesting against the ‘acquisition of excess land’ by NICE. DH PHOTOThe protesters, comprising women and children, said that they were forcibly evicted by police to favour NICE.

Vijay Raghavan, an agriculturist in Gottigere, said the farmers were not against development, but wanted the 1,330 acres acquired in excess by NICE to be restored to the original owners.

“Stick to your original proposal for the peripheral and link roads, that was approved in 1997. That is all we ask,” he said.

Another protester, Reshma Banu, who lived in Hegganahalli for decades until the NICE project started, said: “We don’t have basic facilities such as electricity and water. Suddenly they come and demolish our houses and tell us to get out. Where should I go with my children?”

The Situation is no different for Farhat who has joined the campaign with her two-year-old child.

She said: “We are beedi-workers. If we are shifted to a new place, we will not be able to continue our work.”

The protesters alleged the attitude of the Government and police made one wonder if they were under ‘British Rule’.

They accused the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) of being hand in glove with NICE to deprive the poor of their houses.

Kempegowda, a farmer whose house on the new Link Road was demolished, said: “The police come and arrest us in the morning and later at the night, they go to our houses and throw out our belongings to facilitate demolition. No arrest warrant, no court order, no papers. Our children are suffering.”

They also said the Government approved the Outline Development Plan (ODP) spread over 1,75,250 acres on February 12, 2004, based on the information provided by NICE.

Separate authority

This, despite a separate authority being created by the government for the BMIC project on 20,193 acres. Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Area Planning Authority in its reply to a RTI  query has stated that lands which do not come under the ODP have also been acquired.

The KIADB, instead of dropping the acquisition of 1,330 acres of excess land, handed it over to NICE through an absolute sale deed.

The campaign that began on  Friday from Konappana Agrahara, near Electronics City, culminated at Hemmigepura. On Saturday, the march will proceed to Madavara and on the concluding day, it will proceed from Byatarayanapura to Hosakerehalli between 9 am and 6 pm.

Noted activist Medha Patkar is expected to join the campaign on Sunday, according to the organisers.

Sources said writer and activist Arundhati Roy may also join them on the final day.

 

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