Farmers show steel on land for Mittal

Farmers show steel  on land for Mittal

 Farmers of Kuditini and Haraginadoni villages in Bellary taluk staging a protest.  dh photo

The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) has acquired 4,865 acres of land for the proposed steel plant. The August 10 notification of the Board stipulates the price as follows: Rs 16 lakh per acre of non-agricultural land; Rs 12 lakh for the land in the 500 metre radius of National Highway and Rs eight lakh for the other lands.

While the State Government entered into Memorandum of Understanding with the ArcelorMittal at the Global Investors Meet in June this year, the KIADB, surprisingly, had issued acquisition notification in February itself.

The price fixed by the Government, however, has not gone well with the farmers. As a mark of protest, they walked out of a meeting convened by the Deputy Commissioner in Bellary recently.

The farmers argue that the prices determined are far below the prevailing market prices. The land in these villages fall under Special Economic Zone and the Vijayanagar Development Authority has identified the area as industrial zone. As much as 4,225 acres have been acquired in Kuditini and 640 acres in Haraginadoni for the steel plant.

Farmers point out that lands in the vicinity have been sold for Rs 60 lakh per acre and those at a short distance have fetched Rs 35 lakh. Even lands far away from Kuditini costs Rs 10-12 lakh per acre. The price fixed by the Government - Rs eight lakh per acre - is thus not in conformity with the market prices. They said several farmers have gone bankrupt after parting with their fertile land for a meagre sum on previous occasions.

Kuditini farmers allege that the Board flouted norms while acquiring lands. The Commerce and Industries Department has said that the land will be granted on full-term lease.
Farmers are demanding that the price be fixed at par with that for land at Sirivara and Chaganur acquired for airport project. As against the guidance value of 1.38 lakh the farmers were given Rs 14 lakh (ten times) per acre.

The guidance value for land at Kuditini village including solatium, comes to Rs 7.75 lakh and hence they have demanded Rs 77 lakh per acre. They also contend that Chhattisgarh has followed a similar compensation.

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