Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Ring/Simi Road Land Owners Welfare Committee on Wednesday organised sit-in protest demonstration on Wednesday here in Pratab Park demanding rehabilitation, settlements and compensation of their land.
The protesters demanded the compensation from National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for their land at par with the other states.
Under the banner of welfare committee, the farmers gathered in Pratab Park and later heading towards press enclave Srinagar holding play cards which read, “NHAI don’t act as East India Company”, “Enact new land acquisition law” and “do not snatch our land.” Moreover the protesters chanted slogans, “Ring road destroying our future”, “We want justice” during the march.
“The NHAI is doing injustices to farmers and property owners of Jammu and Kashmir by paying less compensation to our land,” said Ghulam Ahmad Pal, president, Welfare Committee. “We want to be compensated at par with adjoining states of India; they get four times more what we are being offered. We also demand the same,” he added.
The Committee said the NHAI in rest of states pays adequate compensation to the farmers and other land owners, whose land and other property is acquired for construction of highways.
Why the same is not applicable in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, they protesters questioned.
In the construction of highways in rest of the Indian states the NHAI pays “four times” in rural and “two times” in urban areas to farmers and property owners under the law Right to Fair Compensation under Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (RFCLARR Act 2013) enacted by Government of India, while as the same law is “not applicable” in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The farmers alleged that their land is being forcibly snatched by NHAI and state government with lesser settlements. According to land valuation the market value of land is four times more than the Stamp rate, rather than only stamp rate plus 15 percent Jabirana (Solatium) what they are being forced to settle on, protestors said. “Besides the authority is not ready for private negotiation, despite the provision in Jammu and Kashmir Land Acquisition Rules.”
The protesters allegedly accused Divisional commissioners and district collectors for snatching their farming land and handing it over to NHAI for construction of alternate highways. “None of the district collectors are ready to listen to farmers,” the protesters said.
During the sit-in protest a show was also staged by a young farmer and an artist Rayees Wathuri. “Our administration is not doing what they are supposed to do for benefit of people; rather they make a common man suffer. Through my art I wanted to convey the sufferings of the families who have been affected by government’s land snatching for the sake of development at the cost of road construction.”
The alternate highway project will connect Pampore with Ganderbal, the first phase of project would be Gallandar Pampore to Sumbal and Ganderbal and phase second Sumbal to Manigam Ganderbal would be taken by NHAI
Most of the affected areas would be of district Budgam and Ganderbal while connecting these areas by roads. More than 4700 kanals of farming land would be acquired in district Budgam while as 2341 kanals of land would be of farmers from district Ganderbal.