MUMBAI: A day after five farmers in Akola district attempted suicide over delay in compensation for land acquired for a road project, it has emerged that one of them was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi three years ago.
Modi, in his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme in 2016, had praised 42-year-old Murlidhar Raut, for his humanitarian work post-demonetisation in November that year.
Raut, a resident of Shelad village in Balapur tehsil, had come in for praise from Modi for feeding hungry people, mostly highway passengers, carrying demonetised Rs 500 and 1000 notes at his hotel immediately after the noteban.
Modi had lauded Raut for asking passengers carrying old notes and without access to banks and ATMs on the way, to first have their meals at his Hotel Maratha, situated on National Highway 6, and think about paying later.
Modi had said Raut would ask people to pay later when they had new currency and they did so after a few days, while passing through the route again, An official said the land on which the hotel stood was later taken over for the highway widening project.
Raut on Monday evening consumed pesticide along with four other farmers outside the office of the Akola additional collector, protesting lack of proper compensation for their land, the official said.
The provocation for Monday's suicide attempt was an unfavourable ruling recently by an arbitration panel in the land acquisition case, he said.
The five are being treated at a hospital in Akola and their condition is said to be stable, he added.