Bharatmala project compensation issue will be resolved soon, Punjab govt assures farmer leaders

Issues pertaining to compensation for land acquisition under various projects of Bharatmala Pariyojana will be resolved soon. This was the assurance given by A Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary to Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, while chairing a meeting with farmer union leaders of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) in Chandigarh on Thursday. A delegation of KMSC had met the government officials at Punjab Bhawan in the morning.

The Bharatmala Pariyojana is a central government-funded mega roads and highways project in India, under which the government plans to build a robust high-speed road network across the country.

On May 17, a clash had erupted between farmers and police in Gurdaspur area over land acquisition under Bharatmala Pariyojana wherein a woman (Sukhwinder Kaur) was slapped by a policeman, the video of which had gone viral inviting sharp criticism from all quarters over police high-handedness. The controversy was over the amount of compensation for the land being acquired. “This matter will be resolved soon,” Venuprasad said.

KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said, “We had the meeting with government officials in a cordial environment. We were told that the compensation award list for land acquisition will be revised and later money will be transferred into the bank accounts of the land owners concerned. Only then land will be acquired. We expressed our grievances at the meeting. We narrated the incident that took place on May 17 wherein police had also threatened the farmers with imposing NSA on them, besides manhandling them. They have sought time of six months to one year for resolving the compensation revision issue.”

Pandher said, “We raised the issue of pending dues of sugarcane farmers which come to around Rs 430 crore as on date. We have been assured that the money will be transferred into the bank accounts soon.”

When the issue of contamination and closure of Zira ethanol unit was raked up at the meeting, Pandher said the Punjab government assured that it too will be resolved soon.

When The Indian Express asked Venu Prasad to comment on the Zira liquor unit issue, the principal secretary to the CM refused to comment on it, saying, “The matter is sub judice.”