Farmers in Karnatakas Belagavi district are protesting against the proposed 12.5-kilometre Halaga-Machhe bypass that will pass through fertile farmlands in Halaga, Belagavi, Old Belagavi, Vadgaon, Shahapur, Angol, Majgaon and Macche villages. The project has been initiated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to ease vehicular traffic, particularly heavy vehicles going to Goa, passing through Belagavi city. A notification to acquire 135 acres of land for the project was issued in 2011. In January 2019, a second notification was issued to acquire another 25 acres of land for the project. By then, NHAI officials had already commenced work. The farmers allege that the NHAI did not complete the necessary legal procedures before acquiring their lands. They have complained that despite the availability of an alternate route to construct the bypass, the NHAI deliberately targeted private farms. On May 10, 2019, a group of farmers protested at the district commissioners office, alleging that the government was taking the help of the police to forcefully acquire fertile lands. They also threatened to commit suicide if the NHAI continued work on their fields. Surekha S. Balekundri, one of the protesting farmers, told the media that acquiring their land was akin to slow poisoning them. The farmers also allege that NHAI officials were trying to persuade them to accept compensation and give up their land. We have not been informed and no notices were issued to us before transferring rights of our lands to the NHAI. By doing so, the officials are trying to give an impression to the court that the farmers are ready to give away their land for a hefty compensation, Raju Marve of the Sheti Bachav Samiti, a peasant organisation, told a newspaper. LCW spoke to NHAI Project Director J. Eligar, who said he cannot comment on the issue as the matter is sub judice and suggested the researcher to speak to the assistant commissioner of Belgaum, Ashok Dudagunti. When LCW got in touch with Dudagunti, he refused to divulge adequate information. After some prodding, he only said that survey number 50 of the proposed project area is under court order and that the rest of the land acquisition is complete.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Land Revenue Department, National Highways Authority of India
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Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Name(s) of Court(s)
Nature of Protest
Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Protests/marches, Refusal of compensation
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
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