Maya withdraws land for rail coach factory in Rae Bareli

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Lucknow, Oct 12 (UNI) The Uttar Pradesh government has withdrawn the land given to the Railway Ministry for a rail coach factory in Congress President Sonia Gandhi's parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli, citing apprehension of violent protests by farmers.

Ms Gandhi, along with Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the proposed Rs 2,200 crore rail coach factory project at Lalganj in Rae Bareli on October 14.

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Vijay Shanker Pandey told mediapersons here today that the decision to revert the government order of May 19, 2008 handing 189.25 hectares of land to the Railway Ministry was taken on the report of the Rae Bareli District Magistrate, who apprehended violent protest by the farmers.

Mr Pandey said in his report dated October 10, 2008, the DM said ''the farmers can even commit suicide or self immolation as the villagers want these lands for themselves.'' On the report of the DM, the state Revenue Department had reverted back its order yesterday, but had asked the district authorities to search for an alternative land for the factory at the earliest.

The DM in his report also stated that as the Railways would require about 700 acres more land for the factory hence the farmers were not ready to compromise on the issue.

The Congress has termed the action as politically motivated and an effort to derail the development of the state.

State Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the excuse given by the state government to cancel the land acquisition was false as the farmers of the area were very happy for the coach factory as it would have given them jobs.

She also said the fate of the programme of Ms Gandhi was still not known as it would be decided by the Railway Ministry, However, Ms Joshi said the Congress after consultation with the high command would launch a mass agitation against the BSP government's act.

The UP government said the land reverted back was with the central agriculture department for the past 30 years. It was handed over to the state government and later on May 19, 2008 it was given to the Railway Department for the proposed coach factory.

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