More than 500 farmers in Tiptur tehsil in Tumkur district, whose land had been acquired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to widen NH 206 connecting Bengaluru and Honnavara in Karnataka, are yet to receive the promised compensation.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, an organization working for the rights of farmers in the state, alleges that compensation has been due for the last two years.
R. Suratnamma, a resident of Ammana Gatta village, whose land was acquired, says, It has been two years since the government acquired my land and I am still waiting for compensation. Our water pump was lost during the acquisition process, but the authorities have not considered that for compensation.
After the NHAI sent a land acquisition notice to the farmers in 2016, special land acquisition officer Mahesh Babu announced that farmers who lose their land for highwayrelated work will be liable for a compensation at four times the price fixed by the office of subregistrars. This was met by protests by hundreds of farmers, who demanded a higher compensation.
NHAI officer for Tumkur, G. Harshavardhana, said, The government has set a revised price for the acquired lands. The Department of Horticulture has also set a price for coconut, areca nut, turmeric, jackfruit and other trees (that may have been lost during the land acquisition). Similarly, the Public Works Department has set a price for the damage incurred to homes and boundary gates.
NHAI started work on the highway in 2016. The project was undertaken to convert the 215 kmlong stretch of the highway passing through Tumkur, GubbiTipturArsikere, KadurTarikere and Shivamogga into a fourlane highway.
According to Anandravi S. from the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, the disputed land is agricultural land and is a means of livelihood for the farmers. The government had acquired land from them but did not offer any compensation. We have protested several times, but no one is bothered about our cause.
Kunigal Thahasildar Nagaraj, head of Kunigal tehsil in Tumkur, says, We are trying to convince the farmers to sell their land at the market rate. But they are unwilling to sell, which is why the project is yet to take off as land acquisition is under progress.