'Every Party Duped Us': Nava Raipur Farmers Want Govt to Keep Promise
Thousands of farmers are protesting in Raipur, Chhattisgarh whose lands were acquired to build the new capital.
“We have given everything to the government. Our lands, our homes, and now we are forced to beg for rightful compensation. The promises made to us were not delivered."Young Farmer, Nava Raipur Atal Nagar Vikas Pradhikaran, Chhattisgarh
Thousands of farmers are on an indefinite strike in Chhattisgarh’s Nava Raipur area seeking compensation for their land acquired by the state government to build a lavish new capital.
On 3 January, farmers reached the protest site, just 25 km away from the current capital, with tents, grains, and a fiery resolve to see that their decade-long struggle for compensation is taken notice of.
"Fifteen years ago, my father used to attend these protests and rallies. Now I am taking part in the struggle to get what’s due. You can understand how deep the problem runs and how serious it is. There are generations sucked into this fight for what’s rightfully ours," the farmer told The Quint.
'Every Party Duped Us'
The Nava Raipur area, which is also known as Atal Nagar, is being developed to replace Raipur as the capital by 2031. The land pool encompasses nearly 41 villages, acquired from landowners over a period of time from 2008, however the villagers allege that land acquisition began a few years earlier in 2006. Over Rs 10,000 crore have been spent to develop this city till now and projects with nearly Rs 20,000 crore budget are in progress.
A Raipur farmers' union leader Rupan Chandrakar told The Quint that they have been let down by every party that has formed the government.
“When the initial proposal to acquire lands in our area was passed, we did not know we would be deceived like this by the governments. Over time, every party has duped the innocent farmers. That is why we are protesting. We want our rightful compensation, jobs, and homes. We shall have it.”Rupan Chandrakar, Farmer Leader
What Farmers Want?
The farmers want either horticulture or residential or commercial plots in proportion to the acquired lands. They also seek four times higher remuneration for the farmers whose lands were acquired by invoking Land Acquisition Act 1894 but they didn't get compensation.
The farmers are demanding the rural settlement in the Nava Raipur area and the annuity to be paid in full at once. Currently, the affected farmers are being paid Rs 15,000 per year, which many claim has been stopped.
Under the Rehabilitation Package 2013, farmers are asking for all adults to be given a plot of 1,200 square feet. They want the ban on the purchase and sale of land, imposed in 2005 to be lifted.
Apart from this, protesting farmers are also demanding jobs and land for shops and stores promised to them.
Of Promises & Failed Implementation
Nai Rajdhani Prabhavit Kisan Kalyan Samiti (NRPKKS), the congregation of farmers affected by the Nava Raipur project, in a press statement said:
“Since 2009, various protests by the farmers resulted in government acknowledging our justified and rightful demands and various orders have been passed in our favour. However, nothing has been implemented in reality."
“On 3 February 2019, a memorandum of evidence spanning 190 pages was submitted to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel following which multiple persuasion letters have been written to him. But, besides fake promises and dilly-dallying tactics, we have got nothing,” the letter further read.
The agitating farmers have alleged that all their demands have though been acknowledged lack any progress in reality.
“Those who used to rally with us, protest with us have now forgotten about us. The politicians who once promised to stand with us and give us our rightful compensation if voted to power now don’t even given us time to meet.”Rupan Chandrakar, Farmer Leader
No Relief From The Judiciary
When the government failed to keep their promises, farmers sought judiciary's help. As on January 2022, the Chhattisgarh High Court alone has nearly 100 cases under trial in connection with this.
In May 2018, these farmers walked over 100 km from Raipur to Bilaspur (judicial capital) to meet officers and judges of the high court.
They were assured of expediting the cases of farmers concerning resettlement claims. However, not much resulted out of this two-legged tour and farmers continue to protest, four years later.
The Quint has reached out to Baghel, and Naya Raipur Atal Nagar Development Authority CEO Dr Ayyaj Tamboli. The article will be updated when they respond.
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