Due to low compensation being paid for acquired lands for various roads to be constructed in Punjab under Bharatmala project, the farmers of Punjab have been defrauded of Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 crore. Disclosing this here on Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab spokesperson advocate Dinesh Chadha said that after the enactment of Land Compensation Act in 2013, the SAD-BJP and the Congress government had continuously reduced the collector rates in Punjab and did not fix the correct market price; due to which the farmers had been robbed so much.Addressing a press conference held at the party headquarters here, Dinesh Chadha said the Bharatmala project was proposed in 2015 and the then SAD-BJP government was aware of the land acquisition under it; however, contrary to the interests of the farmers, first the SAD-BJP government reduced the collector rates of land by 15 percent in 2015 and then in 2017, the Captain government reduced it by 10 percent. Chadha alleged that the Captain government had neither laid down any concrete policy with the central government for fair compensation to the farmers nor had it devised any plan to fix the actual market value of the land.
He said that 25,000 acres of land was being acquired from Punjab for this project and due to reduced collector rates and unreasonable market price, the difference in land compensation was up to Rs 40 lakh per acre; because farmers have to get about four times more compensation than the market price. “However, the collector rate of land in Punjab has been reduced by Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh and above, per acre at various places. As a result, the farmers have received less compensation of Rs 10,000 to 20,000 crore for the entire 25,000 acres of land,” he added.Road Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, president Sukhdev Singh Dhillon and coordinator Harmanpreet Singh, said that prior to acquiring the land, no suggestions were sought from the farmers nor were the difficulties and demands raised during the public hearing were considered. They said that even important issues like service roads and village cuts were not considered before launching this project which would affect two lakh farming families.The farmer leaders said that after a long struggle when a meeting was held with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister had promised to hold a meeting with the Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, which had not been fulfilled till date. Dinesh Chadha said that the Punjab government and the Union Government should give compensation of lands as per the demand of the farmers and alleviate their grievances.