Govt 'lifts' farmers' land for irrigation project

Trench dug on a farmer’s land even before acquiring it officially, for the proposed Singatalur lift irrigation project in Dambala, Gadag district. DH Photo

Stung by the stiff opposition from farmers in Halligudi for acquisition of their land, the State government seems to have decided to con the gullible farmers into parting with their land for a lift irrigation project in Singatalur, Dambala hobli of the district.

The residents here alleged that the government has started the work on the project to construct a canal for the proposed lift irrigation even before completing the process of land acquisition.

The Government has issued the notices to farmers and invited their objections.

Though September 16 was the last date for submission of the objections, the Government has given green signal to contractors to begin work, sources said.

The farmers were in for a shock when the workers, armed with earthmovers, razed the standing crops, including groundnut, onion, sunflower, sugarcane and jowar, in their fields recently.

When they protested, the contractors persuaded some of them to cooperate. Those who stubbornly refused to yield were threatened by the middlemen and henchmen of local politicians, contractors and officers, said Shankarappa, a farmer.

To the farmers who questioned the assault on the land, the contractors said that the Water Resources Minister has given them the consent orally to go ahead with the work.
“He (the minister) said the land acquisition process can be completed later,” the contractors told the farmers.

Yallappa Jangawada, another farmer said: “We are not even aware that we were supposed to reply to the notices issued by the government. They began work on our land even before we got the notices.”

 When contacted Tahsildar Ramesh Konereddy told Deccan Herald that the work was undertaken on the land only after taking the farmers’ consent. “We have not forced them to part with the land.”

But, Gonibasappa Korlahalli, not convinced by the tahsildar’s reply, said: “How could the government keep us in the dark about the project and begin the work on our land without completing the due legal process?”

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