They want it restored to the original owners if not used for the purpose intended
Farmers in the region will seek restoration of land acquired from them if it is not utilised for the original purpose within 5 years of acquisition.
This is consequent to large swathe of land remaining unutilised for more than two decades after which it changes hands to a third party for a far higher rate.
In recent years, the land acquisition that takes place ostensibly for industrial development is followed by an assurance given in writing that the individuals who sell their land will be provided a job once the factory is established.
But in most cases either the factory does not materialise or there is a change of land use from industrial to non-industrial purpose paving way for new housing colonies, choultries, educational institutions etc. As a result farmers feel cheated on two counts: the land acquired from them is resold for higher rate and they are also deprived of a job due to the change in land use pattern from industrial to non-industrial purpose.
Though the State government introduced a law to lease the land for 99 years instead of outright sale to prevent such conversions, it was withdrawn.
Badagalpura Nagendra of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) pointed out that scores of farmers in Kochanahalli near Nanjangud were promised land in addition to compensation paid for land acquisition. This was almost 12 to 15 years ago and a greenfield golf course was supposed to be created and each of the farmer was promised job in maintenance. The land was acquired at a throw-away rate of ₹1.5 lakh per acre. But neither the golf course materialised nor did the farmers get any job, said Mr. Nagendra.
Self-reliant and independent farmers overnight turned into daily wagers and began to work on what was their own land till the sale was completed. But after a few months even the daily wage was stopped and there was no sign of the golf course. Subsequently it transpired that the same land was offered for sale to the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) at the rate of nearly ₹50 lakh per acre.
“The farmers have not given up the physical possession yet but the land is no longer in their name’’, said Mr. Nagendra who said that the farmers’ outfit will take up the struggle for land restoration.
The KRRS and Hasiru Sene also cited another example wherein a major private company acquired about 175 acres of land at the rate of ₹27 lakh per acre. In addition the farmers were promised a job as part of the compensation package by the KIADB. However, the farmers learnt to their chagrin that the job on offer was not locally but in the Hebbal industrial area in Mysuru.
“Though the distance may not seem much, the farmers prefer to work in Nanjangud area as most of them have retained a small bit of land to cultivate crops for self-sustenance. Travelling to and from Mysuru regularly will force them to abandon agriculture altogether’’, said the farmers.
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