Monday, January 24, 2011

Normalcy returns in Karchana after farmers call off agitation

Normalcy returns in Karchana after farmers call off agitation

Allahabad, Jan 22 (PTI) Normalcy today returned in Karchhana tehsil after agitating farmers agreed to call off their agitation on an assurance by district administration that their demands were being taken up with authorities.

Trouble arose yesterday in the district''s Karchhana tehsil, 40 kms from the city, where farmers from at least half-a-dozen villages, whose land has been acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government for a proposed thermal power project, began staging a demonstration.

A police party asked the agitators to disperse as some of them were squatting on railway tracks affecting traffic on Delhi-Howrah route. This led to a "heated exchange" following which police resorted to "mild use of force to quell the mob" in which one person was killed and several others, including three police men, were injured.

Allahabad District Magistrate Sanjay Prasad said, "The agitating farmers agreed to call off their agitation late last night after an assurance that their demands were being taken up at the appropriate level.

"Their demands include monetary compensation at the rate of Rs 570 per square metre of land acquired, a job to one member in each family which is made to part with its land and proper housing facilities to those who might be displaced as a result of the proposed power project."

He said the district administration has sought four months'' time from the agitators.

"We have assured the agitators that the company JP Associates, which has won the bid for the proposed 1320 MW thermal power project, will not proceed with work during this period," he said.

Besides, the agitators have been given the assurance that no case will be registered in connection with yesterday''s incidents, which included torching and vandalising of a number of vehicles, disruption of rail and road traffic for almost 12 hours and clashes with police, in which an Additional SP, a Deputy SP and a constable were also injured.

The administration has also announced a compensation of Rs five lakh to the family members of Gulab Vishwakarma, who had died during the agitation though it maintained that "the death was natural, caused by a heart attack and the solatium was offered in order to pacify the agitators".

Meanwhile, the farmers in the area have reportedly decided to "peacefully carry on with a relay fast in order to check the administration from any attempts to renege on the promises that have been made".

Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has condemned the police firing on agitating farmers and threatened that atrocities done on them to acquire the land against their wishes will not be tolerated.

BKU President Mahendra Singh Tikait also demanded amendment of Land Acquisition Act to prevent further confrontation with farmers.

Land was acquired earlier at a very low rate in different states, he alleged.

He announced that the BKU would stage a demonstration in Delhi on March 9 against the Land Acquisition Policy in the country.

"BKU will send a fact finding committee to the spot to investigate into the incident and will decide the future course of action after its report," Tikait said.

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