Thursday, October 26, 2006

KIADB to acquire 1,200 acres for SEZ near Bangalore

KIADB to acquire 1,200 acres for SEZ near Bangalore
The Hindu

Farmers protest against acquisition bid

# The area is near the international airport at Devanahalli
# State JD(U) president B. Somashekar says move is illegal

Bangalore: A large number of mostly Dalit and Other Backward Class farmers with smallholdings of one or two acres in Bandikodigepalya, Shingahalli, Arebinnamangala and Gollahalli, near the Bangalore International Airport coming up at Devanahalli, may lose their land to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB), which is acquiring land for a special economic zone (SEZ). The 1,209 acres of land targeted for acquisition is worth thousands of crores of rupees and the farmers have resolved to protest against the acquisition.

The farmers, who gathered at Shingahalli under the banner of the local Janata Dal (United) unit on Tuesday, expressed their anger at the notice issued to acquire land in Arebinnamangala (483 acres), Shingahalli (355 acres), B.K. Palya (294 acres) and Gollahalli (75 acres) for the SEZ and raised slogans demanding that the acquisition proceedings be withdrawn.

Addressing the farmers, the State JD(U) president B. Somashekar alleged that the State Government was allowing the KIADB to acquire agricultural land sanctioned to Dalits and others under the Karnataka Land Reforms Act by the J.H. Patel government in which he was the Revenue Minister. Acquiring such land and handing it over to information technology biotechnology and other companies was in violation of both Union and State Government rules. Moreover, the mandatory period of 15 years before Dalits could sell land given to them by the Government was not over, he said.

Low price

He said the Revenue Department had fixed the price of the land in question at Rs. 200 a sq. ft. Therefore, one acre of agricultural land was worth Rs. 88 lakh, but the KIADB was giving farmers a paltry sum of Rs. 9.40 lakh an acre. How could the Government allow such a fraud, he asked. Apart from this, the exchequer would lose around Rs. 17 lakh an acre in terms of exemption from stamp duty, commercial tax, BDA charges, electricity and conversion costs, he said.

The JD(U) leader alleged that entrepreneurs to whom the land would be allotted in the SEZ would later make real-estate deals by re-allotting a part of the land to others at exorbitant rates.

Already 25,000 acres of land had been acquired around Bangalore, and another 25,000 acres was likely to be acquired for industrial townships, which his party would not permit, he said. Farmers should be allowed to enter into joint ventures with developers of SEZs instead of giving up their land, he said.

Venkatesh, former chairman of the Shingahalli gram panchayat, D.S. Gowda of B.K. Palya, B. Anjanappa of Kolipura, Narasimhaiah of Arebinnamangala and R.N. Venkata Swamy of the Shingahalli Farmers Struggle Committee alleged that some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Janata Dal (S), including a minister and an MLA, had managed to prevent land belonging to them and their relatives from being acquired.

Stir threatened

Mr. Somashekar alleged that the KIADB and the Bangalore Development Authority had become real-estate agents. He urged the Government not to acquire agricultural land, particularly in a 100-km radius around Bangalore. He warned that party workers and farmers would court arrest if the Government went ahead with the acquisition proceedings.


Post a Comment

<< Home