Indian farmers seem to have developed a reflex instinct for protesting against acquisition of land for industrial projects. A day after the Karnataka government announced a Rs350 crore compensation package to be paid by steel giant ArcelorMittal for land to be acquired for its Rs30,000 crore steel project in the state, the farmers staged protests – this time not against giving up their land per se, but demanding higher compensation.
"About 500 farmers in Bellary staged protests against the prices fixed by us for land acquired for ArcelorMittal's project. The farmers are demanding Rs50-60 lakh an acre against Rs8-16 lakh an acre fixed by us," Bellary deputy commissioner B Shivappa told PTI over the phone.
The world's biggest steel producer had entered into a pact with the Karnataka government in June this year to set up a Rs 30,000 crore plant with a capacity of six million tonnes per annum (mpta) in the state. The state government is acquiring about 4,000 acres in Bellary district for the project.
"We are holding meeting with the farmers to convince them over pricing issue. We have fixed the prices on the basis of distance of land from national highways," the state's principal secretary for industries V P Baligar said.
While the price of land within 500 metres of NH 17 has been fixed at Rs16 an acre, the stretches beyond it have been rated at Rs12 lakh per acre and Rs8 lakh per acre, he said.
Baligar added that nearly 4,000 acres of land has already been acquired for the project and the compensation would be disbursed among nearly 1,000 farmers as soon as they agree over the prices.