CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday assured a farmers’ delegation that he would soon meet the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways to raise their demand for further revision in compensation against land acquired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’.

The farmers have rejected the meager compensation awarded by the District Revenue Officers (DROs), who have been designated as CALAs (Competent Authority for Land Acquisitions).

In response to a request by a Road Kissan Sangarsh Committee, whose delegation met him here, the Chief Minister today asked the Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) to immediately issue detailed instructions not to credit the compensation amount into the accounts of farmers against their will. He also directed the DGP to ensure that the farmers’ land is not forcefully seized.

The issue relates to 25, 000 acres of land in 15 districts across the state. The land is under process of acquisition for the project covering multiple expressways, viz. Delhi-Jammu-Katra, Jamnagar-Amritsar, Ludhiana-Ropar, Bathinda-Dabwali, besides bypass for Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

The Chief Minister, during his meeting with the Road Kissan Sangarsh Committee delegation led by its State President Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, which was facilitated by MLA Kapurthala Rana Gurjit Singh, directed his Principal Secretary to seek early appointment for a meeting with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. He stressed the need to resolve the issue on priority to the satisfaction of farmers, who are protesting for the past several months.

He also directed FCR Ravneet Kaur and Principal Secretary PWD (B&R) Vikas Partap to jointly prepare a comprehensive case, in consultation with the representatives of the committee, to highlight the glaring discrepancies while formulating the compensation award for the farmers under the ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’.

The Chief Minister ruled out the possibility of referring to such cases for arbitration as it would unnecessarily lead to inordinate delay in seeking justice for the farmers.

To another issue raised by the Committee, the Chief Minister asked the Principal Secretary PWD (B&R) to explore the feasibility of allowing the farmers way to their fields near the upcoming Green Field Expressways. Taking note of their concern over the issue of inaccessibility to their fields, the Chief Minister said he would also take up this matter too with Gadkari during his meeting.

On the request of Rana Gurjit Singh, the Chief Minister also asked the Revenue Department to put in place an effective mechanism to settle the pending cases of division of land with mutual consent under ‘Joint Khewat’.

The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral and Principal Secretary Tejveer Singh.

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