Hundreds of farmers from 140 villages in the state of Uttar Pradesh, including those in Noida and Greater Noida, gathered to protest against the Uttar Pradesh government and the Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Authority for allegedly rejecting their demands for compensation for their land, in response to three farmer organisations’ call to march to the Parliament.
The farmers were stopped by Noida Police at Dalit Prerana Sthal, even though their objective was to walk up to the Parliament in the capital. The disturbance, which began at 1 pm and lasted for around six hours, was called off following discussions with the police and officials of the Gautam Budha Nagar administration, despite the farmers’ declarations that they would carry on with their protests at their separate locations in Noida and Greater Noida.
The farmers were assured, among other things, that a powerful committee would be formed to investigate their concerns and that they would meet with the police commissioner later that day.
“All farmer issues related to Noida, Greater Noida, and Yamuna Authority will be discussed in detail by a high-powered committee that has been formed,” stated Sukhbir Khalifa of Bharatiya Kisan Parishad, one of the NGOs behind the protest. The other organisations were Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha and Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Sangathan. The NTPC CMD, the minister of industrial development, the CEOs of the three authorities, an MP, and an MLA would be on the committee.
On the meeting with the police commissioner, Rupesh Verma, district president of Kisan Sabha, said, “The meeting has completely failed and remained inconclusive. In the end, it was decided that another round of meetings with CEOs of three authorities will be held.”
Due to police barriers being erected at all borders connecting Noida with the capital, the protest also caused a severe traffic gridlock throughout the city, particularly on the routes heading towards Delhi.
The 34-year-old protestor Subodh Yadav said that the Greater Noida Authority had purchased his father’s 12 bigha land in 2013 and had given him a 6% developed plot as payment.
“It has been around seven years since we have been fighting but we are yet to get the additional 4% plot. Hum kisi se kuchh maang nahi rahe hain, ye hamara haq hai (We are not asking for anything, except what is rightfully ours). After fighting for years in court, they gave us an additional 64.7% compensation. On my land, Gaur city and Amrapali housing societies have been developed while we are here on the road,” said Yadav, a resident of Itaihda village.
According to 43-year-old Badauli village resident Surender Kasana, the Noida Authority purchased about 70 Bigha of his family’s land in 2007; the land belonged to his father and three uncles. He hasn’t yet received 10% of the plot or any more remuneration, though. “…Now, we do not have any land left. I have two children. How will I take care of them?” said Kasana.
The demands were reportedly considered in earlier sessions and conveyed to the government, according to a Noida authority official.
“The board discussed both the major demands of the farmers, which is 10% developed plot and additional compensation, in its earlier meetings and the proposal has been forwarded to the UP government to take a final call…,” said the official.