Karnataka farmers adamant for more payout from ArcelorMittal

Agitating farmers are demanding a compensation of Rs 50- 60 lakh per acre, besides the offer of one job per family in the project, senior state officials told PTI over the phone.
At the rate of Rs 8-16 lakh per acre, the farmers were to get a compensation of Rs 350 crore for about 4,000 acres of land, which according to the officials, has been acquired.
"About 500 farmers staged protests against the prices fixed by us for land acquired for ArcelorMittal's project. They are demanding Rs 50-60 lakh an acre against Rs 8 lakh-Rs 16 lakh an acre fixed by us," Bellary Deputy Commissioner B Shivappa said.

This evening, State Principal Secretary, Industries, V P Baligar held a meeting with a farmers' delegation in Bangalore to iron out the issue."We have offered jobs to one person from each family whose land has been acquired for the ArcelorMittal project. But the farmers are adamant about an increase in the compensation. We are negotiating with them," he said.

He said the government has "released" the first installment of Rs 50 crore and expects to disburse more compensation in the next two months.

There have been recent incidents of farmers' agitations against land acquisition and demands for higher payouts in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa as well.
ArcelorMittal had entered into a pact with the Karnataka government in June this year to set up a Rs 30,000 crore plant with a capacity of 6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in the state.

ArcelorMittal has already deposited Rs 267 crore with the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) and would soon pay the remaining amount, Baligar said.
The company spokesperson said, "We have reached an understanding on the price for land and expect to get its possession soon."

The company has been struggling to launch its proposed Rs 1 lakh crore steel projects in Orissa and Jharkhand (12 mtpa each) for about five years now.The projects have been stuck due to regulatory hurdles and problems in land acquisition and ArcelorMittal has been scouting for investment in other destinations.

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