Greater Noida: Government Bows to Farmers’ Demand for Higher Compensation

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Farmers in Greater Noida’s adjoining areas have, via peaceful means, settled their differences over land compensations with the Greater Noida Authority. The land acquisitions in contention were for the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project.

While the nation was glued to the developments of the Farmers’ Agitation at various Delhi borders, another protest in the city of Greater Noida was taking shape. These protestors led by Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan Morcha had a series of demands related to land acquisitions for the DMIC project. The demands of the farmers ranged from compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 to a 50% reservation in industrial jobs at local industrial units for resident youths. The farmers also wanted a guarantee that their settlements won’t be shifted.

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The agitation leaders and officials of GNIDA (Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority) held eight rounds of talks. Though the initial talks were unfruitful, the talk on the night of 10th February broke the ice and the officials agreed on all demands barring the one for higher compensation. DU Express was also informed that GNIDA had ensured the farmers that, compensation issues would be resolved by 25th February.

The Movement  

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Greater Noida
Farmers on hunger strike (left) chant slogans. (Credits: Aniket Singh Chauhan for DU Express)

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Around twenty villages of Dadri municipal area – which includes the proposed Noida International Airport – took part in the agitation. The agitation started during the latter half of December and was initially limited to village Palla. However, by late January, the movement had gathered much momentum and had moved from Palla to Greater Noida Authority’s industrial office. Talking to DU Express, Kuldeep Bhati, one of the movement’s leader cited better connectivity and limelight as the reason for shifting the movement’s base.

Unsatisfied with the willy-nilly approach of GNIDA to their demands, the leaders announced a mass agitation coupled with hunger strikes commencing from 3rd February. On that day, the leaders claimed that around four to five thousand people joined the agitation.

The leaders further announced that they will organize mass protest or mahapanchayat on 11th February if their demands aren’t met. We were also told that the movement planned to stop all construction work – private and public – if the GNIDA doesn’t budge.

The leaders had planned to invite farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on 11th and had already asserted that leaders of various political parties ranging from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) would be present.

Breaking the Ice

Greater Noida
Participants at the movement. (Credits: Aniket Singh Chauhan for DU Express)

It took eight rounds of negotiations and the mahapanchayat’s announcement to break the ice. Just before the commencement of the mass agitation, GNIDA officials called for another round of talks on 10th February. The talks went on till midnight and resulted in positive developments. The leaders, therefore, called-off the planned movement the next day.

Notwithstanding with the movement, we were told that though the talks were still going on, the authority was humane in its approach and made sure that medical assistance including an ambulance was stationed at the protest site. A doctor too visited the site every evening. Apart from this, the agitators also stated that the police hadn’t misbehaved with them at any instance.

When asked about the compensation issue being unmet till now, the leaders stated that they were more than positive that all of the issues would be resolved before 25th. We were also told that CM Yogi Adityanath would himself meet the movement leaders if there weren’t resolved before 25th February.

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