Farmers in northern Patiala district oppose Land Acquisition for Bypass Construction, Demand Fair compensation

Farmers in northern Patiala district oppose Land Acquisition for Bypass Construction, Demand Fair compensation

Patiala. Over 400 farmers from 24 villages in Patiala district have strongly voiced their opposition to the acquisition of more than 300 acres of fertile land by the Punjab and Central governments at nominal prices for the construction of the Northern Patiala Bypass.

In a press conference held today at the Press Club Chandigarh, representatives from the Northern Patiala Bypass Union, including Malkiat Singh, Sukham Singh, Taranjit Singh, Gurpreet Singh, and former IAS officer Harkesh Singh Sidhu, urged both governments to rectify the situation within one week or face widespread agitation. They also appealed to all farm unions to support their cause in seeking justice.

The farmers revealed that the Northern Patiala Bypass Project, initiated through Government Notifications in 2021, has been marred by delays and bureaucratic hurdles. Despite the formal acquisition announcement in December 2021, the project was inexplicably halted in June 2022, leaving farmers unable to sell or utilize their land. Attempts to engage with the state government yielded little response, prompting farmers to seek legal recourse through the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

According to the farmers, the Compensation Assessment and Land Acquisition (CALA) process has been tainted by undue influence, with the District Revenue Officer (DRO) allegedly under pressure to minimize compensation payouts. They accused the government of disregarding established procedures and market rates, resulting in gross undervaluation of their land.

Citing examples of prevailing market rates, farmers argued that the proposed compensation falls drastically short of their land's true worth. Despite efforts to raise their concerns with local authorities and political representatives, including Chief Minister Dr. Balbir Singh Saini and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, their grievances have been ignored.

Expressing disappointment over the lack of support from the authorities, the farmers warned of escalating protests if their demands for fair compensation are not met promptly. They underscored their legal entitlement to compensation in line with existing laws and market rates, stressing the urgency of addressing their grievances.

In a bid to rally support, the farmers called upon fellow farm unions to stand in solidarity and join their struggle for equitable treatment and just compensation. With tensions mounting and negotiations at an impasse, the fate of the Northern Patiala Bypass project hangs in the balance, contingent upon the government's response to the farmers' demands.


Share this story