Farmers join UAS in opposing link road through campus

Farmers from different parts of the State took part in a peaceful protest on Tuesday, demanding that the BBMP should restore the land acquired for the link road on the campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore (UAS-B) to the university by May 20.

Around 100 farmers from Ramanagar, Mysore, Mandya, Chikkaballapur and Kolar threatened to intensify the strike if the campus, ravaged by work on the road passing through it, does not get back the land from the civic body by May 20. 

On May 3, local corporators and poll candidates from various parties told the university authorities to keep the link road open as the BBMP, which acquired the land, had spent Rs 15.19 crore for constructing it. The four-km road, connecting the Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka Road to National Highway 7, was constructed in September 2009, despite stiff opposition from the university authorities.

“Many farmers and rural youth come here to take part in training programmes conducted by the Farming Training Institute at UAS-B and to interact with agriculture scientists. If the Palike takes over a part of the land, then it will lead to commercialisation,” said Anekal Shivakumar, president of the Bangalore City and Ramanagar District Sheep and Wool Producers’ Association.

Committee

A committee of experts, headed by Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, was set up following an High Court order in September 2011 to resolve the issue. The committee members had ordered the BBMP to shelve the project and return the land to the varsity on March 30, 2013.

H K Thimmaiah, a farmer from Kanakapura taluk,  said: “We had protested in September 2009 when BBMP started the work of constructing the road. Despite the public interest litigation petition filed by former vice chancellors in the High Court in September 2009, they laid the link road.”

Some of the farmers said BBMP was trying to get hold of the land as its market rate had gone up.

“The campus is surrounded by five to six townships. Hence, they are trying to get hold of the property. Even after the State government order and the expert committee order, political leaders who are hand in glove with the Palike are trying to acquire the land.”   
Vice Chancellor, UAS-B, Dr K Narayana Gowda said: “The City police have said that they will support us in restoring the area to its former status after elections. We will not give up the land at any cost and the farmers are with us.” 

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