Cong leaders detained in Noida

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Noida, Jul 29: Several Congress leaders, including former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh and UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, were detained here while on way to address an all-party meeting in Chief Minister Mayawati's village of Badalpur against the takeover of farm land by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The police detained Mr Singh, Ms Joshi, and Congress MPs Sachin Pilot and Surendra Goel at 'UP Gate' in Gautam Buddha Nagar as soon as they entered UP.

The police had earlier issued them with notices asking them against entering the BSP-ruled state.

The Congress has claimed that the state government had taken over lands of 2400 farmers totalling 2500 ha. It alleged that Chief Minister Mayawati has constructed a palatial house over 47 bighas in her native village and the district has issued notices for land acquisition in Badalpur and adjacent Saadupur. While the state government had said that the land was being acquired to create a picnic spot and make Badalpur a tourist destination, Congress alleged that the land would be used to develop a green belt around the CM's bungalow.

The party claimed that the farmers were offered only Rs 711 per square yard as against the circle rate of Rs 850 per sq metre while the market rate was Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,500 per sq metre.

The Congress leaders were sent to a power department guest house in Sector 38 and were likely to be released by evening.

UNI

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