Farmers lay siege to BDA over land blocked for Ring Road
While the BDA Commissioner appealed to them to call off their indefinite protest and sought time till January 30, the land losers refused to relent and camped there all night.
BENGALURU: Hundreds of farmers, whose lands had been earmarked for the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project 15 years ago, laid siege to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) office on Wednesday, demanding the government finalise the compensation package due to them immediately. While the BDA Commissioner appealed to them to call off their indefinite protest and sought time till January 30, the land losers refused to relent and camped there all night.
The stir, which commenced at 12 pm outside the main BDA gate, continued into the night with all three roads leading to the BDA office becoming off limits for vehicles amid barricading and tight police security. The Bellary Road leading to the BDA office (popularly known as BDA Road), was the centre of attraction in the area with loud beating of drums, songs blaring, slogan raising and speeches by representatives of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, who were spearheading the protest. Chairs and mats for protestors and temporary cooking arrangements were in place for the protest just outside the BDA main gate, with half of the BDA Road occupied by the protestors. The 5th Main Road as well as the Serpentine Road too were closed for traffic.
Nearly 1,810 acres were notified for acquisition from nearly 4,000 landowners in 67 villages for the 65.5-km PRR road, envisaged to decongest the City’s traffic by connecting Tumakuru Road to Hosur Road by encircling the Outer Ring Road.
While protestors demanded compensation to be fixed on the basis of the present guidance value, the government is yet to finalise the package due to the enormous compensation costs to be incurred if the
demand is met.
Asked about the stalemate, BDA Commissioner G C Prakash told Express, “Talks will be held with the Chief Minister before a final decision can be arrived at on the compensation issue. While the original compensatin estimate planned at the time of acquisition was Rs 50 lakh to Rs 60 lakh per acre, the compensation as per the existing guidance value could come to Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 1.7 crore per acre. No final decision has been taken yet.” Prakash, who addressed the protestors late evening, requested time till January 30 to finalise the package. “We need to ready all the documents and present it to the government. You need to wait just 23 days more for us to arrive at a final solution.”
Raghu M, Bangalore unit president of the Sangha, said, “We have already waited for 15 years. We will not move from here unless we get a solution. Only if we put pressure on the government, will they take steps to give us compensation.”