NHAI Forcefully Acquires Agricultural Land of Farmers in Karnataka for Halaga-Machhe Bypass

Reported by

Soumik DuttaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 10, 2020

Location of Conflict

Halaga

,

Mache

Belagavi

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Roads

Building of bypass

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

65

ha

State

Karnataka

Sector

Infrastructure

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.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

65

ha

Starting Year

2011

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Land Revenue Department, National Highways Authority of India

LCW called up the office of Belagavi District Collector S.B. Bommanahalli, but he was unavailable. The researcher was asked to email the questions, which he did, but got no response.

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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