Farmers, Trident Group reach agreement on land acquisition

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Chandigarh, Mar 23 (UNI) The Punjab Government has succeeded in bringing about an agreement between the agitating farmers of Barnala district and the Trident Group, which has acquired their land for setting up an industrial unit.

An agreement to this effect was reached at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and attended by the representatives of the Trident Group and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU - Ugrahan) here yesterday evening.

The Trident issue had been agitating the minds of the farmers and its amicable settlement was one of the key promises made in the manifesto of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the February 2007 Assembly polls in the state.

Releasing the details of the agreement, Mr Harcharan Bains, media advisor to the Chief Minister, disclosed here today hat the Trident Group has agreed to pay a 70 per cent enhancement charges over the original compensation amount announced during the rule of the previous government headed by Captain Amarinder Singh. The enhancement will pass a benefit of Rs 19.5 crore to the affected farmers.

On its part the government, has withdrawn all Trident-related cases against the agitating farmers. The families of the three farmers who died during the agitation have been paid Rs five lakh each by the present government and one dependent from each family has been given a job.

A compensation worth Rs 25,000 per head has been given to the 70 farmers injured during the stir, Mr Bains said.

The Deputy Commissioner Barnala has been directed to take follow-up steps for the implementation of the understanding reached. The Media Advisor further said the Chief Minister has ordered a complete waiver of the registration fee and stamp duty on the land that the farmers had purchased in the state within two years with the money they receive as compensation price. In addition, the farmers who do not have a tubewell connection would be given one on their newly purchased land in the state while no shifting charges would be levied on those with a tubewell connection on the acquired land.

Mr Bains said the Chief Minister was already directed the Secretaries of Revenue and the Irrigation and Power Departments to take the necessary steps in this regard.

Speaking on behalf of the Chief Minister, Mr Bains appealed to the BKU to withdraw their agitation on the issue, including the proposed 'rail roko' scheduled for March 25.

It may be recalled that a total of 376 acres had been acquired in Barnala district during the Amarinder Singh regime at a price which the farmers, their associations and the SAD-BJP had termed as ''arbitrary and unsatisfactory''.

UNI HS AK GC1736

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